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Home > Newsletters > March 2005 >

Recent Research

Treating Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain with Acupuncture vs. Placebo

Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for the Treatment of Chronic Pelvic Inflammation

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Cupping

The Pharmacological Basis of the "Yin-Nourishing" and "Yang-Invigorating" Actions of Cordyceps


Treating Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain with Acupuncture vs. Placebo

White P., et al. Complementary Medicine Research Unit, Mail Primary Medical Care, University of Southampton, Aldermoor Health Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom.

In order to compare acupuncture and placebo for neck pain, a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm study was conducted with 135 patients 18 to 80 years of age who had chronic mechanical neck pain. A total of 124 patients completed the study. The patients were randomly assigned to receive, over 4 weeks, 8 treatments with acupuncture or with mock transcutaneous electrical stimulation of acupuncture points using a decommissioned electro-acupuncture stimulation unit. Both groups improved statistically from baseline, and acupuncture and placebo had similar credibility. In conclusion, acupuncture did reduce neck pain and it produced a statistically, but not clinically, significant effect compared with placebo. The beneficial effects of acupuncture for pain may be due to both nonspecific and specific effects.


Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Berman BM, et al. University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21207, USA.

A randomized and controlled study was performed in order to determine whether acupuncture provides greater pain relief and improved function compared with sham acupuncture or education in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. For the 570 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, 23 real acupuncture sessions were given over 26 weeks and 23 sham acupuncture sessions were given over 26 weeks. The primary outcomes were changes in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and function scores at 8 and 26 weeks. The secondary outcomes were patient global assessment, 6-minute walk distance, and physical health scores of the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).

The patients in the real acupuncture group experienced greater improvement in the WOMAC function scores than the sham acupuncture group at 8 weeks but not in the WOMAC pain score or the patient global assessment. At 26 weeks, the real acupuncture group experienced significantly greater improvement than the sham group in the WOMAC function score, the WOMAC pain score, and patient global assessment. In conclusion, acupuncture seems to provide improvement in function and pain relief as an adjunctive therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee when compared with credible sham acupuncture and education control groups.


Acupuncture, Moxibustion and Long Dan Xie Gan Tang for the Treatment Chronic Pelvic Inflammation

Jin Y. Hospital of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Affiliated to Zhejiang College of TCM, Hangzhou 31000, China.

A study was conducted in order to observe the therapeutic effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on chronic pelvic inflammation. Thirty-six cases of chronic pelvic inflammation were treated with acupuncture, medicinal cake moxibustion and the formula Long Dan Xie Gan Tang. This treatment provided a cure in 9 cases, obvious effect in 16 cases, effect in 7 cases and no effect in 4 cases. Therefore, acupuncture, moxibustion and Long Dan Xie Gan Tang used together can enhance the therapeutic effects on chronic pelvic inflammation.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Cupping

Yang, Huang and Qian, Yu. Si Chuan Zhong Yi (sichuan Chinese Medicine), #6, 2001, pgs. 70-71. Abstracted and translated by Bob Flaws, Dipl. Ac. & C.H., FNAAOM, FRCHM

In a recent study, cupping was performed on 30 patients suffering with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nine patients were male and 21 were female, and the age range was 28-54. All of the patients complained of fatigue, while most mentioned problems with headache, insomnia, muscle-joint, neck, shoulder, upper back aching and pain, poor intake and poor memory. There were also reports of some head distention, dizziness, blurred vision, spontaneous sweating, gastrointestinal disturbances, five-center heat, bitter taste in the mouth, etc.

Twice a week, the patients received sliding cupping treatments along the Back-Shu points with Hong Hua You (Carthamus oil) first applied to their backs. This was done for a total of 12 treatments. After the final treatment, there was no marked improvement with head distention, five-center heat or bitter taste in the mouth. However, there was vast improvement in fatigue levels, insomnia, poor memory, spontaneous sweating, sore throat, profuse dreams, poor intake, abdominal distention, diarrhea, and alternating constipation and diarrhea.


The Pharmacological Basis of the 'Yin-nourishing' and 'Yang-invigorating' Actions of Cordyceps

Siu KM, et al. Department of Biochemistry, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong SAR, China.

The popular 'Yin-nourishing' and 'Yang-invigorating' Chinese herb, Cordyceps sinensis (Berk) Sacc., was examined in a study in order to establish the pharmacological basis for its actions. The effects of wild and cultured Cordyceps on concanavalin A (Con A)-stimulated splenocytes, an in vitro bioassay for 'Yin-nourishment', and myocardial ATP generation capacity, an ex vivo bioassay for 'Yang-invigoration', were investigated in mice. The outcome showed that methanolic extracts of wild and cultured Cordyceps increased both the Con A-stimulated splenocyte proliferation in vitro and myocardial mitochondrial ATP generation ex vivo in mice, with no considerable difference in the strength of action between the wild or cultured types of Cordyceps. While the immuno-potentiating effect was associated with the increase in interleukin II production, the stimulation of myocardial ATP generation was paralleled by an enhancement in mitochondrial electron transport. In comparison with other 'Yin' and 'Yang' tonifying Chinese herbs, Cordyceps was found to possess both 'Yin-nourishing' and 'Yang-invigorating' activities, with a lower potency in both types of action.

This Month's Articles

March, 2005
Volume 3, Number 3

Seasonal Affective Disorder from a TCM Perspective

List of Cancer-Causing Agents Grows

To Lose or Manage Your Weight is All About Calories In, Calories Out

Recent Research

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