Are there studies supporting acupuncture? Most of the studies or reports in the media are skeptical and make it seem if you go to an acupuncturist all you will be getting is a placebo effect. Worst than that these studies claim that only more drugs, more pain relievers and more surgeries are the answer for many pain problems. Here are studies that support acupuncture for pain relief.
Studies Supporting Acupuncture – The MRI Study from Germany
A study performed in Germany, found that twice as many patients responded to acupuncture versus conventional therapy as reported in The Archives of Internal Medicine.
When needling a point in a famous acupuncture point located in the hand, between the thumbs and forefinger, called the Hegu point and putting a person into an fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging that images the metabolic activity in the body). The amount of brain activity decreased when feeling pain impulses, which means that the acupuncture was able to reduce and block pain. At the 85th Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, they were able to analyze these fMRI pictures of the brain before and after acupuncture treatments that showed up to 70% decrease in brain activity related to pain reduction.
Subjects in this study between the ages of 25 to 54 received painful stimulation while they were undergoing magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) The simultaneous procedures allowed doctors to view how and where brain activity occurred without acupuncture and during acupuncture treatments.
The MRI studies showed that researchers could see how and where brain activity occurred with the use of acupuncture when controlling pain. This study showed that there were changes that could be detected in the brain of subjects getting acupuncture in the modulation of pain (1).
Studies Supporting Acupuncture : The Meta-Analysis
A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Pain in 2012 concluded that acupuncture is effective for a number of chronic pain conditions. The conditions mentioned included:
- Back and neck pain
- Osteoarthritis pain or “wear and tear arthritis”
- Chronic Headache
- Shoulder pain
Results indicated that the effects of acupuncture were persistent over time, and that the benefits could not be explained away by the placebo effect.
The results confirm and strengthen previous key findings that acupuncture has a clinically relevant effect compared with no acupuncture control,” the authors wrote. These effects appeared to persist for at least 12 months after receiving acupuncture. The authors added that “the effects of acupuncture are not completely explicable in terms of placebo effects,” but cautioned that “factors other than the specific effects of needling at correct acupuncture point locations” contribute to the benefits derived from receiving acupuncture.
Studies supporting Acupuncture: The Chronic Pain Study:
Another study entitled Acupuncture for chronic pain reported in the Journal of the American medical Association in 2014, reported that Acupuncture is associated with improved pain outcomes compared with sham-acupuncture and no-acupuncture control, with response rates of approximately 30% for no acupuncture, 42.5% for sham acupuncture, and 50% for acupuncture (3).
Studies Supporting Acupuncture: Chronic Pain in Adolescents:
A study that looked at acupuncture in the treatment of chronic pain in adolescents The study looked at different pain conditions affecting adolescents including headaches (18%), musculoskeletal pain (75%), and abdominal/pelvic pain (7%). The study was carried out using 8 experimental visits by Lonnie Zenter, MD, a professor pediatrics, anesthesiology, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The big questions now are which children with chronic pain would benefit most and what are the characteristics of children that find acupuncture acceptable.” (4)
FDA Classification First Recognition of Acupuncture Needles
Back in 1996, the FDA gave acupuncture its first U.S. seal of approval, when it classified acupuncture needles as medical devices.
Studies supporting acupuncture are outlined above. You might like some other articles on the subject of acupuncture and pain listed below.
Are you sitting on the side lines because of pain but not sure about acupuncture? Feel free to call me and let’s see if acupuncture is a fit for you. I am reachable at 201-444-7150. Call for your no pressure consultation today and see for yourself if acupuncture can be of benefit to you! I am located in Ridgewood, NJ, in Northern Bergen County, and pride myself on individualized care.
other articles Acupuncture for Treating Lower Back Pain
(1) Acupuncture modulates the limbic system and subcortical gray structures of the human brain: Evidence from fMRI studies in normal subjects Jing Liu, Nikos Makris, Randy L. Gollub, Anthony J.W. Chen, Christopher I. Moore, David N. Kennedy, Bruce R. Rosen, Kenneth K. Kwong,:16 February 2000 (1) https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0193(2000)9:1<13::AID-HBM2>3.0.CO;2-F.
(2) Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. Andrew J. Vickers, Emily A. Vertosick, George Lewith, Hugh MacPherson, Nadine E. Foster, Karen J. Sherman, Dominik Irnich,, Claudia M. Witt,, Klaus Linde.
(3) Vickers AJ, Linde K. Acupuncture for Chronic pain. JAMA. 2014;311(9):955-956.
(4) The Use of Acupuncture for Pain Management in Pediatric Patients: A Single-Arm Feasibility Study, Angela Johnson, Paul Kent, Barbara Swanson, Anneliese Rosdil, Erika Owen, Louis Fogg, and Joyce Keithley Published Online:21 Dec 2015 https://doi.org/10.1089/act.2015.29022.ajo