The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture originated over 5,000 years ago. Its tremendous therapeutic benefits have been proven over thousands of years.
Acupuncture is based on the belief that your health is predicated by a balance of chi—or life energy—flowing throughout your body. Both yin and yang energy (or chi) circulate through your body along 12 major pathways called meridians.
The meridians move energy through the body, flowing into the interior of the body through organ systems and skin surfaces. When the energy flow stops or is blocked, the corresponding internal organ system manifests symptoms of disease.
Along all the meridians, there are places where the energy surfaces on the skin. These are called acupuncture points, or acupoints. Stimulating these points on the surface of the skin with a fine needle can correct the meridian flow and bring your chi back into balance, thus accelerating the body’s natural healing capabilities.
While traditionally done with needles, acupuncture can also be done with lasers and/or touch (acupressure).
Conditions Supported by Acupuncture
- Brain health
- Digestive health
- Heart health
- Joint health
- Men’s health
- Skin health
- Smoking cessation
- Weight loss
- Women’s health
What Does the Research Say?
In one study out of Thailand, researchers tested laser acupuncture on rats with chemically induced memory impairment to determine if this could be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.1
The researchers treated the rats with laser acupuncture at the HT7 acupoint once a day for 14 days for 10 minutes each days. (HT7 is the pathway to the heart and is linked to emotional issues such as excessive anxiety and worry. HT7 stimulation has also been researched for its link to improved learning and memory.)
Memory assessments on the rats were conducted several times throughout the trial, and researchers monitored the changes in multiple markers and enzymes, including malondialdehyde (a marker for oxidative stress) and superoxide dismutase and catalase (enzymes that are an important antioxidant defense mechanism).
They found that the laser acupuncture enhanced superoxide dismutase and catalase activity and significantly suppressed acetylcholinesterase activity in the hippocampus area of the brain. Acetylcholinesterase is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine, one of the many neurotransmitters in the autonomic nervous system. Damage to the acetylcholine-producing system in the brain causes memory deficits, especially those commonly seen with Alzheimer’s.
They concluded, “Laser acupuncture at HT7 is a potential strategy to attenuate memory impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” although further research on humans is definitely warranted.
In a clinical trial published in October 2013, investigators report that acupuncture reduces depression and affects personality traits.2
Researchers randomly assigned 60 subjects with depression to receive electro-acupuncture or the pharmaceutical antidepressant paroxetine for 24 weeks. The investigators evaluated the subjects at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention period using the Minnesota Multiple Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Self-Rating Depression Scale, Self-Rating Anxiety Scale and Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale.
The results showed that both groups had significant improvement in psychological state. In the electro-acupuncture group, the severity of depression improved significantly after 24 weeks compared to the beginning of the study. Additionally, the electro-acupuncture group showed significant decrease in the Self-Rating Depression Scale and Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, as well as MMPI subscale scores for hypochondriasis, depression, psychopathic deviancy, psychasthenia (phobias/obsessions/compulsions) and social introversion.
In the paroxetine group, the investigators found decrease in the severity of the depression, and scores on the Self-Rating Depression Scale and Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. The researchers showed that the paroxetine group also showed decreased MMPI subscale scores for hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, paranoia and psychasthenia.
Comparing the two groups, the researchers found that the electro-acupuncture group showed a greater decrease in scores on the MMPI subscales for paranoia and social introversion compared to the paroxetine group.
The study authors concluded, “Electro-acupuncture is effective for treating depression and affects personality traits.”
Acupuncture, combined with a commonly prescribed antidepressant, improves symptoms of depression better than the drug alone, according to a study published in March 2013.3
In this randomized controlled trial, researchers assigned 160 subjects with major depressive disorder to receive:
- Paroxetine, a commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
- Paroxetine plus 18 sessions of manual acupuncture
- Paroxetine plus 18 sessions of electrical acupuncture.
The investigators evaluated the subjects using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), clinical response, remission rates and paroxetine dosages.
The investigators determined that the subjects who received acupuncture in additional to pharmaceutical therapy had significantly greater reduction in depression scores from week one to week six from scores at the beginning of the study compared to the subjects receiving pharmaceutical therapy alone. The researchers demonstrated that 69.8 percent of the subjects had a clinical response in the manual acupuncture plus paroxetine group, 69.6 percent showed a clinical response in the electrical acupuncture plus paroxetine group and 41.7 percent showed a clinical response in the paroxetine alone group.
In addition, the researchers found that the percentage of subjects who required an increased dose of paroxetine due to symptom aggravation was 5.7 percent in the manual acupuncture group, 8.9 percent in the electrical acupuncture group and 22.9 percent in the pharmaceutical-alone group. The researchers assessed the subjects four weeks after completion of the acupuncture sessions and found that the subjects that received electrical acupuncture continued to show significantly greater clinical improvement.
The researchers concluded, “Our study indicates that acupuncture can accelerate the clinical response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and prevent the aggravation of depression. Electrical acupuncture may have a long-lasting enhancement of the antidepressant effects.”
Finally, according to a study published in May 2013, acupuncture is also effective in reducing the symptoms of general anxiety disorder.4
Eighty subjects with generalized anxiety disorder received acupuncture at 12 meridians acupoints or the anxiolytic pharmaceutical clonazepam for six weeks. The investigators evaluated the subjects at the beginning of the study and again after two, four and six weeks with the Hamilton Anxiety Scale. The researchers also assessed changes in the basic electrical activity of brain waves before and after treatment.
The investigators found that the Hamilton Anxiety Scale score decreased for both the acupuncture and clonazepam groups after the treatment period compared to the score at the beginning of the study. Interestingly, the improvement in the Hamilton Anxiety Scale score after two, four and six weeks in the acupuncture group was superior to the change in scores in the clonazepam group.
The researchers also determined that the activity of brain waves was improved remarkably, with a reduction of wave a frequency, increasing of wave alpha rhythm and reducing of wave theta after the treatment period. Furthermore, the researchers showed that efficacy of treatment was similar in both groups.
The investigators stated, “Acupuncture at the 12 meridians acupoints achieves the superior and quick effect on general anxiety disorder as compared with clonazepam and the efficacy mechanism is related to the improvements of brain waves in the patients.”
Research indicates that acupuncture combined with moxibustion—a traditional Chinese therapy that uses the mugwort herb—can relieve constipation.5
Researchers conducted a review of the medical literature, published in January 2012, in which they analyzed a total of 15 papers involving 1,052 patients. Their findings indicated that acupuncture and moxibustion do a better job at curing constipation than ordinary medication. While the researchers called for more high-quality studies to support their conclusion, the findings look promising.
Similarly, in October 2012, a clinical trial reported reduction of irritable bowel symptoms with acupuncture treatment.6
The subjects included 233 individuals with irritable bowel syndrome for an average of 13 years and score of at least 100 on the IBS Symptom Severity Score. The researchers randomly assigned 116 subjects to receive 10 weekly individualized acupuncture sessions plus usual care, while the other 117 subjects continued with usual care alone. The investigators assessed the subjects for the IBS Symptom Severity Score every three months for 12 months.
The study authors found that after three months, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in IBS Symptom Severity Score, and revealed that acupuncture was associated with a reduced IBS Symptom Severity Score. The researchers determined that successful treatment—defined as 50 point or greater reduction in the IBS Symptom Severity Score—was seen in 49 percent of the acupuncture group and 31 percent of the control group. Furthermore, the investigators found that this benefit largely persisted at six, nine and 12 months.
The investigators concluded, “Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome provided an additional benefit over usual care alone. The magnitude of the effect was sustained over the longer term. Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option to be offered in primary care alongside other evidenced based treatments.”
A randomized, controlled trial published in November 2012 indicates that acupuncture significantly reduces fatigue in women recovering from breast cancer.7
Researchers randomly assigned 30 women with fatigue after treatment for breast cancer to receive six sessions of acupuncture or sham acupuncture over eight weeks. The women were evaluated for fatigue and well being. The investigators conducted in–depth interviews with seven of the subjects.
The investigators determined that the women receiving acupuncture showed a significant reduction in fatigue at two weeks compared to the women receiving the sham acupuncture treatment. Additionally, the researchers showed that the women receiving acupuncture had a significant improvement in well being at six weeks compared to the control group.
Based on the interviews, the researchers reported that the women described their experience of acupuncture positively and reported an improvement in sleep, mood and relaxation.
The investigators concluded, “Fatigue is a common symptom experienced by people recovering from treatment, and an appropriately powered trial to evaluate the effect of acupuncture is needed.”
Many randomized controlled clinical trials in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) have found that acupuncture can raise pregnancy rate, the survival rate of the fetus after transplantation of the embryo and several other benefits.8 Not all studies have shown acupuncture can increase fertilization, but there’s enough good research out there to indicate using acupuncture in conjunction with IVF is worth a try.
A 2012 study reported that acupuncture reduces blood pressure in subjects with hypertension.9
The subjects included 32 adults with essential hypertension between 32-65 years of age currently treated with anti-hypertensive medication. The subjects received 10 acupuncture treatments over 10 weeks. The researchers measured blood pressure and nitric oxide levels at the beginning of the study, after the first acupuncture treatment and after the tenth treatment.
The investigators found that systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased after the first and tenth acupuncture treatment. The researchers also showed that nitric oxide increased by 71.5 percent after the first acupuncture treatment and by 184.6 percent after the tenth treatment.
Thus, the researchers showed that acupuncture influenced nitric oxide levels and reduced blood pressure in hypertensive subjects.
A study published in April 2013 found that acupuncture and isometric exercise—a form of strength training—improves symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.10
Forty subjects with knee osteoarthritis received either 12 sessions of acupuncture at selected acupoints for knee pain over four weeks or received 12 sessions of isometric exercise of the knee over four weeks. The investigators evaluated the subjects for pain intensity and function using the knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score questionnaire at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention period.
The researchers found that both the acupuncture and exercise groups showed significant improvement in Quality of Life scores. The visual analog scale showed improvement in the acupuncture group from an average of 7.25 to 5.41 and in the exercise group from 7.85 to 5.34.
The investigators stated, “Both acupuncture and isometric exercises decrease pain and increase quality of life in patients who suffer from osteoarthritis.”
Another study found that auricular (ear) acupressure reduces post-operative pain in subjects with osteoarthritis after total knee replacement, according to a study published in July 2013.11
The subjects included 90 individuals with degenerative osteoarthritis undergoing a total knee replacement. The subjects received either auricular acupressure on the same side as the surgery by embedding vaccaria seeds at four acupuncture sites including knee joint, shenmen, subcortex, sympathesis or at four non-acupuncture points on the auricular (ear) helix to serve as the control group. The researchers assessed the use of painkillers, the incidence of analgesia-related adverse effects, Hospital for Special Surgery scores and range of motion.
The investigators found that visual analog score—which assesses pain—was similar at 12, 24, 36 and 48 hours post-surgery. However, visual analog scores were lower in the acupressure group at three, four, five and seven days post-surgery compared to the control group. The researchers also determined that the acupressure group used lower doses of painkillers and had a lower incidence of analgesia-related adverse effects compared to the control group.
The study authors concluded, “Applying auricular acupoint acupressure in the perioperative period of total knee arthroplasty [replacement] is favorable for alleviating postoperative pain, decreasing opioid consumption and its adverse effects, and promoting early rehabilitation. Also, this intervention has the advantage of lower costs, fewer complications, simple application and high safety.”
A study published in April 2013 reports that electroacupuncture reduces symptoms associated with benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH).12
One hundred men with BPH and an International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) of eight or greater underwent electroacupuncture at acupuncture points or electroacupuncture at non-acupuncture points as the control group. The researchers assessed the subjects for prostate symptoms using the IPSS, post-void residual urine and maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax) at the beginning of the study and at week six and 18.
The researchers found that the group receiving electroacupuncture at acupuncture points showed a 4.51-point greater decline in IPSS than the control group at six weeks. At the 18-week follow-up, the group receiving electroacupuncture to acupuncture points showed a 3.2-point greater decline in IPSS score compared to the control group. The investigators did not find a significant difference in post-void residual urine and maximum urinary flow rate.
The study authors stated, “Acupoint electroacupuncture at BL 33 had better effects on IPSS, but no difference on post-void residual urine and Qmax as compared with non-acupoint electroacupuncture. The results indicate that electroacupuncture is effective in improving patient’s quality of life and acupoint may have better therapeutic effects than non-acupoints in acupuncture treatments of BPH.”
Acupuncture has been well studied for its ability to ease pain, including back pain and headaches. In the case of back pain, a study published in September 2012 looked at 130 adults aged 18-65 years with non-specific low back pain for a minimum of three months duration.13 The subjects received individualized acupuncture treatments or sham acupuncture treatments from Korean medicine doctors twice weekly for six weeks.
Researchers assessed the subjects at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention and at three and six months using the Visual Analogue Scale score for bothersomeness of chronic low back pain and pain intensity, the disability index, general health status and Beck’s depression inventory.
The investigators found a significant difference in visual analog scale scores for bothersomeness of pain and pain intensity between the two groups, with a greater reduction in the acupuncture group at eight weeks. Additionally, the researchers showed that the visual analog scale scores improved continuously until the three-month follow up. The disability index, general health status and Beck’s depression inventory improved in both groups.
The researchers concluded, “This randomized sham-controlled trial suggests that acupuncture treatment show the better effects on the reduction of the bothersomeness and pain intensity than sham-control in participants with chronic low back pain. “
In the case of headaches, a study published in November 2013 found that acupuncture is effective as a migraine prophylaxis (prevention) and reduced the number of migraine attacks.14
The subjects included 100 individuals with migraines, in which standard prophylactic medication did not reduce migraine frequency by at least 50 percent. Researchers randomly assigned the subjects to receive three 30-minute sessions per week for four weeks of true acupuncture or sham acupuncture. The subjects continued on previous prophylactic medication. The researchers evaluated the number of migraines at the beginning of the study and again after the four month intervention.
The investigators determined that the frequency of migraines decreased significantly in the true acupuncture group compared to the sham acupuncture group after one month of treatment. The researchers found that the frequency of migraines continued to decrease in the second month of treatment and increased during the third and forth month, but was still significantly less than at the beginning of the study.
The researchers concluded, “Acupuncture is applicable as an adjunct to prophylactic drugs in migraineurs in whom the number of attacks does not fall with prophylactic medication.”
Acupuncture has been shown to improve thickness, tone, elasticity and smoothness of face and neck skin. In a study that examined the effects of acupuncture on aging skin, researchers noted that the treatment “can change the aging state of skin possibly by strengthening the activity of fibroblast in skin and increasing the content of soluble collagen.”15
A study published in 2013 found that acupuncture is effective in increasing sleep quality and daytime functioning in subjects with primary insomnia.16
The researchers randomly assigned 180 subjects with primary insomnia to receive:
- Acupuncture plus placebo.
- The pharmaceutical sleep aid estazolam plus sham acupuncture.
- Sham acupuncture plus placebo as the control group.
The investigators assessed the subjects using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and the 36-item short-form health survey at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention.
The investigators found that all three groups showed improvement at the end of the study compared to the beginning of the study. The researchers showed that the acupuncture group had greater improvement in sleep quality and vitality, decreased daytime dysfunction and sleepiness compared to the estazolam group and the control group.
The researchers stated, “Verum acupuncture appeared to be more effective in increasing sleep quality and daytime functioning than sham acupuncture and estazolam.”
A similar study supported the finding that acupuncture is effective for the management of insomnia.17
The subjects included 33 individuals with primary insomnia. The researchers assigned subjects to receive acupuncture once per week for four weeks or to take the commonly prescribed pharmaceutical zolpidem (Ambien®) 10 mg per night for four weeks. Zolpidem is a short-acting non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that potentiates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The researchers evaluated the subjects weekly for four weeks using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
The investigators found that both treatment groups improved significantly in sleep quality and at a similar rate between the two groups.
The investigators concluded, “Acupuncture might be used as an alternative strategy compared to zolpidem for the treatment of primary insomnia.”
Acupuncture also appears to improve sleep quality in elderly subjects with dementia.18 In this study, the researchers followed 19 elderly subjects with dementia during a six-week control period and six weeks of acupuncture. The investigators evaluated sleep quality using wrist actigraphy, which measures sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. The researchers assessed cognitive function using Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive.
The researchers found that the subjects gained significantly more resting time and total sleep time during the acupuncture period compared to the control period. The investigators showed a trend toward improved sleep efficiency, although this was not statistically significant. The researchers did not find a significant change in cognitive function.
The researchers concluded, “Results reveal that acupuncture was effective in improving some domains of sleep quality of elderly with dementia, and the subjects showed acceptance towards the intervention.”
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported that acupuncture also improves sleep quality and quality of life in menopausal women.19
Eighteen post-menopausal women between 50-67 years of age participated in the study. All participants had been diagnosed with insomnia and at least one year of amenorrhea, had a follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level of 30 mIU/ml or less and were not currently taking antidepressants, hypnotics or hormonal therapy.
The researchers randomly assigned the subjects to receive 10 sessions of acupuncture or sham acupuncture over five weeks. The subjects completed a polysomnography exam and questionnaires regarding mood, quality of life and sleep quality at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention period.
The investigators found that the subjects in the acupuncture group showed significantly lower scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and an improvement in the World Health Organization Quality of Life questionnaire. Polysomnography showed that the acupuncture group had a higher percentage of stage 3 and 4 non-REM sleep than the sham acupuncture group.
The investigators stated, “Acupuncture was effective in improving reported sleep quality and quality of life in postmenopausal women with insomnia.”
Many studies show that acupuncture can help with smoking cessation. One study from 2002 found that acupuncture and education—alone and in combination—significantly reduced smoking, especially in those people with a greater and longer history of smoking.20
A study published in January-February 2013 found that auricular acupuncture (needle in the ear) performed once a week for five weeks resulted in 21 percent of participants quitting smoking,21 while a 2012 meta-analysis of six different studies with a combined total of 823 patients found that acupuncture was, indeed, an effective therapy for smoking cessation.22
A study published in May 2014 shows that auricular (ear) acupuncture can effectively relieve stress and anxiety in healthcare providers.23 There are more than 200 acupuncture points on the ear alone, each linked to a specific part of the body.
In this study, researchers conducted pre- and post-intervention surveys on healthcare providers, who typically endure a great deal of physical and emotional stress and anxiety as part of their job.
Compared to baseline, participants who received auricular acupuncture experienced significant reductions in state anxiety (the temporary anxiety that occurs when one perceives an imminent threat), trait anxiety (a more permanent state of constant worry over real or perceived threats), burnout and traumatic stress scores. Moreover, researchers noted dramatic increases in courage and patience.
In conclusion, the study authors wrote, “Auricular acupuncture is an effective intervention for the relief of stress/anxiety in providers and supports heightened capacity for caring.”
Another study published in January 2012 found that electroacupuncture modulates levels of the stress-related protein neuropeptide Y in rats.24 Neuropeptide Y is elevated during ongoing stress and is believed to contribute to the physiological stress response.
In the brain, neuropeptide Y is released from the hypothalamus and regulates energy intake/appetite. It also impacts release of corticotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, which is involved in the stress response.
In this study, researchers subjected rats to 14 days of cold stress. Some of the rats received electroacupuncture at the acupuncture point known as stomach 36 and other rats received a sham-acupuncture treatment. Neuropeptide Y levels were evaluated in the plasma and in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus.
The researchers found that pretreatment or concomitant treatment with electroacupuncture at stomach 36 resulted in suppressed levels of neuropeptide Y in both the plasma and hypothalamus. The rats that received the sham-electroacupuncture treatment did not show a change in neuropeptide Y.
Furthermore, the electroacupuncture treatment showed a long-lasting effect, as the electroacupuncture treatment maintained suppressed levels of neuropeptide Y, even when it was discontinued early and the cold stress continued. The electroacupuncture treatment also inhibited the stress-induced increase in receptors for neuropeptide Y in the paraventricular nucleus.
According to the researchers, electroacupuncture at stomach 36 “is effective in preventing one of the sympathetic pathways stimulated during chronic stress, and thus may be a useful adjunct therapy in stress-related disorders.”
A clinical trial published in December 2013 found that acupuncture is effective for weight loss in overweight subjects.25
The study included 91 subjects with a body mass index (BMI) of 23 or greater who had not received any weight management treatment in the previous six months. The researchers randomly assigned the subjects to receive:
- Acupuncture at the five ear acupuncture points Shen-men, Spleen, Stomach, Hunger and Endocrine
- Acupuncture at the Hunger point only
- The sham control group with acupuncture at the five ear acupuncture points, but the needles were removed immediately after insertion
The investigators assessed the subjects at the beginning of the study and again after four and eight weeks of treatment for BMI, waist circumference, weight, body fat mass, percentage body fat and blood pressure.
The researchers showed that in the 58 subjects that completed the study, BMI, body fat mass and weight was significantly different between the treatment groups and the control group. The investigators found that the group that received the acupuncture at the five ear points had a 6.1 percent reduction in BMI and the subjects that received acupuncture at the Hunger point only had a 5.7 percent reduction in BMI.
The investigators concluded, “This finding suggests that the five ear acupuncture points, generally used in Korean clinics, and the Hunger point alone treatment are both effective for treating overweight people.”
Similarly, in June 2012, a study reported that acupuncture may help regulate weight by modulating hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cholecystokinin.26 Leptin is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance, suppressing food intake and thereby inducing weight loss. Ghrelin is a fast-acting hormone and plays a role in meal initiation. In obese individuals, leptin is increased and ghrelin is decreased, and research suggests this is due to hormone resistance. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a gut hormone shown to regulate appetite and energy intake.
The subjects included 40 women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2. The researchers randomly assigned to subjects to receive acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatments on five different points for 20 minutes twice per week for five weeks. (The treatments used the acupuncture points LI4, HT7, ST36, ST44 and SP6 bilaterally.) The scientists measured levels of serum insulin, leptin, plasma ghrelin and CCK at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention.
The investigators showed that, compared with sham acupuncture, acupuncture treatment decreased serum insulin and leptin levels and increased plasma ghrelin and CCK levels. In addition, the acupuncture group demonstrated weight loss and a decrease in BMI.
The investigators concluded, “These findings suggest that acupuncture may help to regulate weight owing to its beneficial effects on hormones such as insulin, leptin, ghrelin and CCK in obese subjects even after a few weeks of treatment.”
Acupuncture has been shown to ease a number of hormone-related issues, including cramps and hot flashes.
In March 2013, a study indicated that acupuncture reduced menstrual pain.27 The subjects included 35 women with primary dysmenorrhea. The researchers assigned the women to receive a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) or acupuncture treatments for one month. The investigators assessed the women for pain at the beginning of the study and again after the intervention.
The researchers found that pain scores were significantly lower in both treatment groups. The mean pain score decreased by 52.2 percent in the NSAID group and by 69.5 percent in the acupuncture group.
The investigators concluded, “Acupuncture was as effective as NSAID therapy for patients with primary dysmenorrhea. Since this was a pilot study with a small sample size and short follow-up period, larger studies are needed to clarify the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea.”
In the case of hot flashes, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that acupuncture reduces symptom severity in women on anti-estrogen therapy.28
The subjects included 10 Korean women with breast cancer and hot flashes undergoing anti-estrogen therapy with tamoxifen or anastrozole. The subjects received 20-25 minute acupuncture treatments three times per week for four consecutive weeks. The investigators assessed hot flashes frequency and severity at the beginning of the study, during the treatment and four weeks after the final acupuncture treatment.
The researchers found that acupuncture significantly alleviated severity of hot flashes and the total hot flash score. The investigators determined that during treatment, severity of hot flashes was reduced by 70-95 percent in all of the subjects. The investigators showed that improvement in hot flash symptoms remained four weeks after completing the acupuncture treatments.
The study authors concluded, “Acupuncture appeared to provide effective relief from hot flashes among Korean women receiving anti-estrogen therapy after surgery for breast cancer, and the effects lasted for at least one month after termination of treatment.”
How to Use Acupuncture
If you are interested in giving acupuncture a try, you can find a certified acupuncturist in your area by logging on to acufinder.com.
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