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Even though most major medical insurance plans do not pay for acupuncture, in the last few years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of high quality research articles that demonstrate acupuncture’s efficacy in treating a variety of conditions.  Below, we have selected a number of conditions that we regularly see in our clinic.  More articles showing acupuncture’s benefits have been published and have abstracts available at Pubmed.gov

HEADACHES

  • Acupuncture for tension-type headache.
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009 Jan 21;(1):CD007587.
CONCLUSIONS:  “acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.”
  • Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis.
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009 Jan 21;(1):CD001218.
CONCLUSIONS:  “there is consistent evidence that acupuncture provides additional benefit to treatment of acute migraine attacks only or to routine care.  Available studies suggest that acupuncture is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects. Acupuncture should be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.”
  • Acupuncture for the management of chronic headache: a systematic review.
Sun Y, Gan TJ. Anesthesia and Analgesia. 2008 Dec;107(6):2038-47.
CONCLUSION: “Needling acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and medication therapy in improving headache intensity, frequency, and response rate.”
  • Migraine Headache: Acupuncture more effective than medication
Facco E, Ligouri A, Petti F, Fauci AJ, Cavallin F, Zanette G. Pubmed.gov
CONCLUSION. “Our data show a lower pain intensity and lower Rizatriptan intake at six-months follow-up with no adverse events in acupuncture patients compared to those treated with valproic acid.”
  • Acupuncture in patients with headache.
Jena S, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN.
Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache. 2008 Sep;28(9):969-79. Epub 2008 Jul 8.
CONCLUSION: “Acupuncture plus routine care in patients with headache was associated with marked clinical improvements compared with routine care alone.”
  • Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with headache.
Witt CM, Reinhold T, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN.
Cephalalgia: An International Journal of Headache. 2008 Apr;28(4):334-45.
CONCLUSION:”According to international cost-effectiveness threshold values, acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment in patients with primary headache.”
  • Traditional acupuncture in migraine: a controlled, randomized study.
Facco E, Liguori A, Petti F, Zanette G, Coluzzi F, De Nardin M, Mattia C.
Headache. 2008 Mar;48(3):398-407. Epub 2007 Sep 12.
CONCLUSIONS: “Traditional acupuncture was the only treatment able to provide a steady outcome improvement in comparison to the use of only Rizatriptan”
  • Effectiveness and tolerability of acupuncture compared with metoprolol in migraine prophylaxis.
Streng A, Linde K, Hoppe A, Pfaffenrath V, Hammes M, Wagenpfeil S, Weidenhammer W, Melchart D.
Headache. 2006 Nov-Dec;46(10):1492-502
CONCLUSIONS: acupuncture might be an effective and safe treatment option for patients unwilling or unable to use drug prophylaxis.”
  • Acupuncture for chronic headaches–an epidemiological study.
Melchart D, Weidenhammer W, Streng A, Hoppe A, Pfaffenrath V, Linde K.
Headache. 2006 Apr;46(4):632-41.
CONCLUSIONS: In this epidemiological study, headache patients reported clinically relevant improvements after receiving acupuncture.  Randomized trials performed in parallel to this study confirm the relevant overall effect.”
  • A randomized, controlled trial of acupuncture for chronic daily headache.
Coeytaux RR, Kaufman JS, Kaptchuk TJ, Chen W, Miller WC, Callahan LF, Mann JD.
Headache. 2005 Oct;45(9):1113-23.
CONCLUSION: Headache-specialty medical management alone was not associated with improved clinical outcomes among our study population. Supplementing medical management with acupuncture, however, resulted in improvements in health-related QoL and the perception by patients that they suffered less from headaches.”
  • Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care: large, pragmatic, randomized trial
Andrew J Vickers , Rebecca W Rees , Catherine E Zollman , Rob McCarney , Claire M Smith , Nadia Ellis , Peter Fisher , Robbert Van Haselen 
British Medical Journal, 2004 Mar 27;328(7442):744.
 CONCLUSION: Acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine. Expansion of NHS acupuncture services should be considered.”

ALLERGIC RHINITIS

  • Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture in women and men with allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled study in usual care.
Witt CM, Reinhold T, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN.
American Journal of Epidemiology. 2009 Mar 1;169(5):562-71.
CONCLUSION:”Acupuncture, supplementary to routine care, was beneficial and, according to international benchmarks, cost-effective.” 
  • Acupuncture in patients with allergic rhinitis: a pragmatic randomized trial
Brinkhaus B, Witt CM, Jena S, Liecker B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN.
Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 2008 Nov;101(5):535-43.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this trial suggest that treating patients with allergic rhinitis in routine care with additional acupuncture leads to clinically relevant and persistent benefits.”
  • Acupuncture for persistent allergic rhinitis: a randomized, sham-controlled trial.   
Xue CC, An X, Cheung TP, Da Costa C, Lenon GB, Thien FC, Story DF.
The Medical Journal of Australia. 2007 Sep 17;187(6):337-41.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that acupuncture is effective in the symptomatic treatment of PAR. “
  • A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of acupuncture for the treatment of childhood persistent allergic rhinitis.           
Ng DK, Chow PY, Ming SP, Hong SH, Lau S, Tse D, Kwong WK, Wong MF, Wong WH, Fu YM, Kwok KL, Li H, Ho JC.
Pediatrics. 2004 Nov;114(5):1242-7.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that active acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in decreasing  the symptom scores for persistent allergic rhinitis and increasing the symptom-free days. No serious adverse effect   was identified.” 
  • Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial.     
Brinkhaus B, Hummelsberger J, Kohnen R, Seufert J, Hempen CH, Leonhardy H, Nögel R, Joos S, Hahn E, Schuppan D.
Allergy. 2004 Sep;59(9):953-60.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that traditional Chinese therapy may be an efficacious and safe treatment option for patients with seasonal AR.”

INFERTILITY

  • Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta-analysis
Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, Haramati A, Langenberg P, Berman BM, Bouter LM. British Medical Journal. 2008 Mar 8;336(7643):545-9. Epub 2008 Feb 7.

CONCLUSIONS: Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.”

  • Acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer significantly improves the reproductive outcome in infertile women: a prospective, randomized trial.
Westergaard LG, Mao Q, Krogslund M, Sandrini S, Lenz S, Grinsted J.
Fertility and Sterility. 2006 May;85(5):1341-6. Epub 2006 Apr 5.
CONCLUSION(S): Acupuncture on the day of ET significantly improves the reproductive outcome of IVF/ICSI, compared with no acupuncture. Repeating acupuncture on ET day +2 provided no additional beneficial effect.”
  • Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility
Jian Pei, Ph.D., Erwin Strehler, M.D.b, Ulrich Noss, M.D.c, Markus Abt, Ph.D.d, Paola Piomboni, Ph.D.e, Baccio Baccetti, Ph.D.e, Karl Sterzik, M.D.b
Fertility and Sterility: Volume 84, Issue 1, Pages 141-147 (July 2005)
CONCLUSION: “The treatment of idiopathic male infertility could benefit from employing acupuncture. A general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultra structural integrity of spermatozoa, was seen after acupuncture, although we did not identify specific sperm pathologies that could be particularly sensitive to this therapy.”
  • Effect of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study
S. Dieterle, G. Ying, W. Hatzmann, A. Neuer
Fertility and Sterility, Volume 85, Issue 5, Pages 1347-1351Conclusion(s)
CONCLUSION: “Luteal-phase acupuncture has a positive effect on the outcome of IVF/ICSI.”
  • Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility
Jian Pei, Ph.D. Erwin Strehler, M.D.b, Ulrich Noss, M.D.c, Markus Abt, Ph.D.d, Paola Piomboni, Ph.D.e, Baccio Baccetti, Ph.D.e, Karl Sterzik, M.D.b
Fertility and Sterility: Volume 84, Issue 1, Pages 141-147 (July 2005)
CONCLUSION: “The treatment of idiopathic male infertility could benefit from employing acupuncture. A general improvement of sperm quality, specifically in the ultra structural integrity of spermatozoa, was seen after acupuncture, although we did not identify specific sperm pathologies that could be particularly sensitive to this therapy.” 

DYSMENNORHEA:

  • Acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea: a randomized study on clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in
usual care. 
Witt CM, Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Roll S, Jena S, Willich SN.
American Journal of Obstetrics and  Gynecology. 2008 Feb;198(2):166.e1-8.
CONCLUSION: Additional acupuncture in patients with dysmenorrhea was associated with improvements in pain and quality of life as compared to treatment with usual care alone and was cost-effective within usual thresholds.”
  • Chinese herbal medicine for primary dysmenorrhoea.
Zhu X, Proctor M, Bensoussan A, Wu E, Smith CA.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008 Apr 16;(2):CD005288.
CONCLUSIONS: “The review found promising evidence supporting the use of Chinese herbal medicine for primary dysmenorrhoea; however, results are limited by the poor methodological quality of the included trials.”
  • Effectiveness of acupuncture for the initiation of labor at term: a pilot randomized controlled trial.
Gaudet LM, Dyzak R, Aung SK, Smith GN.
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 2008 Dec;30(12):1118-23.
CONCLUSION: The interesting results of this pilot trial warrant further investigation into the use of acupuncture for the initiation of labor in women at term.”
  • Effects of acupuncture and stabilizing exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomized single blind controlled trial.
Elden H, Ladfors L, Olsen MF, Ostgaard HC, Hagberg H.
British Medical Journal. 2005 Apr 2;330(7494):761. Epub 2005 Mar 18.
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture and stabilizing exercises constitute efficient complements to standard treatment for the management of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture was superior to stabilizing exercises in this study.”
  • Acupuncture for pelvic and back pain in pregnancy: a systematic review.
Ee CC, Manheimer E, Pirotta MV, White AR.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008 Mar;198(3):254-9.
“We conclude that limited evidence supports acupuncture use in treating pregnancy-related pelvic and back pain. Additional high-quality trials are needed to test the existing promising evidence for this relatively safe and popular complementary therapy.”
  • Acupuncture for Lower Back and Pelvic Pain in Late Pregnancy: A Retrospective Report on 167 Consecutive Cases
Nina Kvorning  Ternov, MD,  Lars  Grennert,    Anders  Åberg,    Lars  Algotsson,    and Jonas  Åkeson   
Pain Medicine: 2001 Sep;2(3):204-7. 
CONCLUSION:”Acupuncture seems to be safe and effective for pain relief in lower back pain, pelvic pain, or both during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.”
  • Acupuncture administered after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term significantly reduces the length of birth and use of oxytocin. A randomized controlled trial.       
Gaudernack LC, Forbord S, Hole E.
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 2006;85(11):1348-53.
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture may be a good alternative or complement to pharmacological methods in the effort to facilitate birth and provide normal delivery for women with prelabor rupture of membranes.”
  • Decrease of pregnant women’s pelvic pain after acupuncture: a randomized controlled single-blind study.      
Lund I, Lundeberg T, Lönnberg L, Svensson E.
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 2006;85(1):12-9.
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture stimulation that is individually designed may be a valuable treatment to ameliorate suffering in the condition of pelvic pain in late pregnancy.”
  • A randomized controlled pilot study of acupuncture for postmenopausal hot flashes: effect on nocturnal hot flashes and sleep quality.           
Huang MI, Nir Y, Chen B, Schnyer R, Manber R.
Fertility and Sterility. 2006 Sep;86(3):700-10.
CONCLUSION(S): Acupuncture significantly reduced the severity of nocturnal hot flashes compared with placebo. Given the strength of correlations between improvements in sleep and reductions in nocturnal hot flashes, further exploration is merited.”
  • A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture added to usual treatment for fibromyalgia.                 
Targino RA, Imamura M, Kaziyama HH, Souza LP, Hsing WT, Furlan AD, Imamura ST, Azevedo Neto RS.
Journal of Rehabilitaion Medicine. 2008 Jul;40(7):582-8.
CONCLUSION: Addition of acupuncture to usual treatments for fibromyalgia may be beneficial for pain and quality of life for 3 months after the end of treatment.”
  • Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial.            
Martin DP, Sletten CD, Williams BA, Berger IH.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2006 Jun;81(6):749-57.
CONCLUSION: We found that acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Symptomatic improvement was not restricted to pain relief and was most significant for fatigue and anxiety.”

PAIN

  • Additional use of acupuncture to NSAID effectively reduces post-tonsillectomy pain.
Sertel S, Herrmann S, Greten HJ, Haxsen V, El-Bitar S, Simon CH, Baumann I, Plinkert PK.
European Archives Oto-rhino-laryngology. 2008 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]
CONCLUSION: “This trial strongly supports a specific acupuncture scheme for the treatment of postoperative swallowing pain after tonsillectomy. It may particularly serve as an alternative pain treatment in case of NSAID intolerances.”
  • Analgesic effect of auricular acupuncture for cancer pain: a randomized, blinded, controlled trial.
Alimi D, Rubino C, Pichard-Léandri E, Fermand-Brulé S, Dubreuil-Lemaire ML, Hill C.
Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2003 Nov 15;21(22):4120-6
CONCLUSION: The observed reduction in pain intensity measured on the VAS represents a clear benefit from auricular acupuncture for these cancer patients who are in pain, despite stable analgesic treatment.”
  • Electro acupuncture relieves pain in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: three-arm randomized trial.
Lee SH, Lee BC.
Urology. 2009 May;73(5):1036-41
CONCLUSIONS: In a 3-arm randomized trial investigating the clinical effects of EA on CP/CPPS, EA therapy proved to have independent therapeutic effects, particularly for pain relief superior to SEA or A&E therapy.”

NECK PAIN

  • Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chronic uncomplicated neck pain: a randomized controlled study.
Vas J, Perea-Milla E, Méndez C, Sánchez Navarro C, León Rubio JM, Brioso M, García Obrero I.
Pain. 2006 Dec 15;126(1-3):245-55. Epub 2006 Aug 23.
CONCLUSION: “In the treatment of the intensity of chronic neck pain, acupuncture is more effective than the placebo treatment and presents a safety profile making it suitable for routine use in clinical practice.”
  • Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with chronic neck pain.
Willich SN, Reinhold T, Selim D, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Witt CM.
 Pain. 2006 Nov;125(1-2):107-13. Epub 2006 Jul 13.
CONCLUSION: “According to international cost-effectiveness threshold values, acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment strategy in patients with chronic neck pain.”
  • Acupuncture for patients with chronic neck pain.
Witt CM, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Liecker B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN.
Pain. 2006 Nov;125(1-2):98-106. Epub 2006 Jun 14.
CONCLUSION: “Treatment with acupuncture added to routine care in patients with chronic neck pain was associated with improvements in neck pain and disability compared to treatment with routine care alone.”
  • Acupuncture versus Placebo for the Treatment of Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain 
Peter White, PhD, BSc; George Lewith, DM, FRCP; Phil Prescott, PhD,DIC, ARCS, BSc; and Joy Conway, PhD
Annals Of Internal Medicine: 21 December 2004 | Volume 141 Issue 12 | Pages 911-919
Conclusions:  Acupuncture reduced neck pain and produced a statistically, significant effect compared with placebo.”

LOW BACK PAIN

  • Effectiveness of acupuncture for low back pain: a systematic review.
Yuan J, Purepong N, Kerr DP, Park J, Bradbury I, McDonough S.
Spine. 2008 Nov 1;33(23):E887-900.
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture versus no treatment, and as an adjunct to conventional care, should be advocated in the European Guidelines for the treatment of chronic LBP.”
  • German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel-group trial with 3 groups.
Haake M, Müller HH, Schade-Brittinger C, Basler HD, Schäfer H, Maier C, Endres HG, Trampisch HJ, Molsberger A.
Archives of Internal Medicine. 2007 Sep 24;167(17):1892-8.
CONCLUSIONS: Low back pain improved after acupuncture treatment for at least 6 months. Effectiveness of acupuncture, was almost twice that of conventional therapy.”
  • Acupuncture for chronic low back pain in routine care: a multicenter observational study.
Weidenhammer W, Linde K, Streng A, Hoppe A, Melchart D.
The Clinical Journal of Pain. 2007 Feb;23(2):128-35.
CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture treatment is associated with clinically relevant improvements in patients suffering from cLBP of varying degrees of chronification and/or severity.”
  • A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture care for persistent low back pain: cost effectiveness analysis.
Ratcliffe J, Thomas KJ, MacPherson H, Brazier J.
British Medical Journal. 2006 Sep 23;333(7569):626. Epub 2006 Sep 15.
CONCLUSION: Acupuncture care for low back pain seems to be cost effective in the longer term. “
  • Pragmatic randomized trial evaluating the clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic low back pain.
Witt CM, Jena S, Selim D, Brinkhaus B, Reinhold T, Wruck K, Liecker B, Linde K, Wegscheider K, Willich SN.
American Journal Epidemiology. 2006 Sep 1;164(5):487-96. Epub 2006 Jun 23.
“Acupuncture plus routine care was associated with marked clinical improvements in these patients and was relatively cost-effective.”
  • Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain.
Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E
Annals of Internal Medicine. 2005 Apr 19;142(8):651-63.
CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture effectively relieves chronic low back pain.”
  • Acupuncture in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain
Benno Brinkhaus,MD; Claudia M. witt, MD; Susanne Jena, MSc; Klaus Linde, MD; Andrea Streng, PhD; Stefan Wagenpfeil, PhD; Dominik Irnich, MD; HEinz-Ulrich Walther, MD; Dieter Melchart, MD; Stefan N. Willich, MD,MPH
Archives of Internal Medicine:2006;166:450-457. 
Conclusion:  Acupuncture was more effective in improving pain than no acupuncture treatment in patients with chronic low back pain.”

KNEE PAIN

  • Acupuncture treatment for chronic knee pain: a systematic review.      
White A, Foster NE, Cummings M, Barlas P.
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2007 Mar;46(3):384-90. Epub 2007 Jan 10.Click here to read 
CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture that meets criteria for adequate treatment is significantly superior to sham acupuncture and to no additional intervention in improving pain and function in patients with chronic knee pain. Due to the heterogeneity in the results, however, further research is required to confirm these findings and provide more information on long-term effects.”
  • Effectiveness of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, controlled trial.   
Berman BM, Lao L, Langenberg P, Lee WL, Gilpin AM, Hochberg MC.
Ann Intern Med
. 2004 Dec 21;141(12):901-10.
CONCLUSIONS: 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.”

 OSTEOARTHRITIS

  • Quality of life and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with osteoarthritis pain.
Reinhold T, Witt CM, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN. 
The European Journal of Health Economics. 2008 Aug;9(3):209-19.
CONCLUSION: “In conclusion, acupuncture was a cost-effective treatment strategy in patients with chronic osteoarthritis pain.” 
  • A randomized trial of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee
BM Berman, BB Singh, L Lao, P Langenberg, H Li, V Hadhazy, J Bareta and M Hochberg 
Rheumatology, Vol 38, 346-354
CONCLUSION: These data suggest that acupuncture is an effective and safe adjunctive therapy to conventional
care for patients with OA of the knee.”