Monday, July 03, 2006 by: NaturalNews, citizen journalist

Successful long term weight loss is incredibly difficult for most people to achieve. Many people have tried diets that may cause some weight loss and then they gain back the weight they lost plus some additional pounds. This is why more and more, people are turning to acupuncture weight loss treatments to try to handle their weight problem once and for all. Acupuncture is a practice that is more than 5,000 years old, significantly older than Western medicinal therapies and practices. Acupuncture weight loss treatment involves what most people think of when they think about acupuncture. Inserting hair-thin needles into particular spots on the skin that are believed to help the body function properly. Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins, the body's own "feel-good" pain-relieving chemicals. It may be that one way acupuncture weight loss treatments help control appetite is by releasing endorphins. In the case of overweight patients, the acupuncture specialist will first ask a variety of questions and perform an examination. The purpose is to understand the main causes of the person's excess weight. Perhaps it is merely behavioral, or there could be a physiological reason as well. Once the root causes of the problem are identified, the acupuncture specialist will then insert needles into different areas of the body in order to help improve the body's functioning in a way that will promote weight loss. For example, an acupuncture specialist who is doing acupuncture weight loss treatment for a patient will probably use a multi-targeted approach. They may attempt to lower the body's weight by increasing the output of the pituitary gland. They would also probably work on reducing cravings for certain foods or they would attempt to encourage a decrease in natural appetite. Certain needle placements are even thought to lower insulin levels or lipid levels in the blood. A benefit of acupuncture weight loss treatment is that unlike certain medications, there are no harmful side effects and no chance for addiction. It is a perfectly natural means of boosting the patient's weight loss efforts. Acupuncture weight loss treatments need to be repeated on a rather regular basis in order to maintain the effects. However, the acupuncture specialist will instruct the patient that the treatment on its own is not likely to be enough to result in long term, permanent weight loss. Attention should also be paid to diet and exercise. The acupuncture specialist may provide the patient with certain guidelines as to what to avoid eating in order to promote the regular flow of energy throughout the body as well. If you've been struggling with a stubborn weight problem, consider acupuncture weight loss treatment to give your weight loss efforts a boost.
 
Tuesday, August 03, 2004 by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Acupuncture has proven itself useful yet again in a study conducted in Sydney, Australia that focused on the use of a single acupuncture point, the P6 point, as a point for treating post-operative nausea. The study showed that those who received the acupuncture treatment on their P6 point were 28% less likely to feel nauseous, and 29% less likely to be sick than patients who did not receive the treatment, or who received sham treatments, such as insertion of the needle at the wrong point. There are a couple of interesting points to note about this study. First, this is yet more evidence that acupuncture is in fact quite useful, not only in treating nausea, but in altering the nature of the mind-body connection in patients. But the really interesting thing about this study is only obvious when you zoom out and look at the big picture here. This was conducted by the insertion of a single needle at a single point. That's not something that an experienced acupuncture practitioner would typically do. Acupuncture is not so rigid as to be limited to a single insertion at a single point. When acupuncture is pursued in the traditional way, it is as much a form of art as it is science. An experienced acupuncture practitioner will insert many needles at many points, and will not be controlled by a rigid set of guidelines prescribing a certain set of points. Acupuncture doesn't work in that way. You can't say just because a patient has symptoms A, B, and C, therefore you should insert needles at points P5, P6, and so on. Acupuncture is more intimate than that. There is a relationship between the practitioner and the patient on an energetic level. The practitioner observes and senses the condition of the patient and how they react to the insertion of the first few needles, and then the practitioner modifies their plan accordingly. They may insert as many as 30 needles at different points, and those points would vary from one patient to the next, even if they showed the exact same symptoms. That's because each patient is unique. Each patient has a different energy system, a different physical makeup, a different posture, a different pattern of energy expression, and so on. There are so many factors involved that it would be impossible to try to quantify them in a rigid, scientific way. Acupuncture is more than just taking a needle and inserting it at a certain point, and yet, even doing so appears to work quite well in rigid scientific studies. Imagine how much stronger the effect of acupuncture would be if the studies allowed experienced acupuncture practitioners to pursue their art form to its fullest. There's another thing that's worth noting here: until recently, modern medicine was very uncomfortable with the idea of integrating acupuncture at all. In fact, there are still many old school doctors and so-called anti-quackery doctors who still rail against acupuncture, completely unaware of all the scientific evidence proving its efficacy. The Western system of medicine simply isn't comfortable with the idea that physicians from 5,000 years ago in ancient China knew more about health than doctors do today, and yet this is most certainly the case. Acupuncture is a traditional treatment dating back many thousands of years in China, and if you read the ancient Chinese texts on this subject, as I have, you will find that the doctors of that time in China knew far more about the nature of the human spirit and the human body and how health really operates than most Western doctors do today. In fact, it's almost laughable to try to compare the knowledge of body wisdom in today's doctors versus the wisdom of people from 5,000 years ago. So, for many decades, modern medicine fought the idea that acupuncture could work at all, and once again, there's still a lot of denial (especially in the minds of older doctors) that acupuncture has any use whatsoever. For the more pioneering doctors in modern organized medicine, they are beginning to accept acupuncture, but only as a complementary therapy. Notice that in this study, a surgical procedure was performed on patients, and then acupuncture was only allowed to be used to treat that patient's nausea following the procedure. That use of acupuncture fits very well the current model of how Western medicine views acupuncture. Western medicine thinks that only surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and prescription drugs can do the "real work" of healing, and that acupuncture should only be used to treat secondary symptoms, such as pain or nausea that follow the radical procedures conducted by Western doctors. This is a rather blatant marginalization of acupuncture, and it is the only way in which modern medicine feels comfortable to discuss acupuncture at all. If they can keep acupuncture trapped in a small box of so-called "approved uses," they can effectively marginalize this entire field of medicine and continue to rely on their own favorite procedures such as drugs and surgery. But the reality is that acupuncture has far greater potential than this. Acupuncture can treat patients in ways that can catalyze rapid healing responses. Acupuncture can often take the place of surgery or eliminate the need for prescription drugs. Although can treat a great many health disorders with tremendous success, and this is the truth about acupuncture that makes modern medicine extremely uncomfortable. Any time a complementary therapy begins to encroach upon the territory of more barbaric Western treatments, organized medicine starts to get a bit defensive. They don't want anything competing with their profit centers, which are, of course, prescription drugs, surgery, chemotherapy, and other such radical treatments. So the official word that you are likely to hear about acupuncture for many years to come is that yes, it's fine for treating pain, or reducing nausea, or doing other minor things to help patients, but that if you're really sick, you should go get surgery, or you should start taking all of these prescription drugs for the rest of your life, or you should get chemotherapy that destroys your immune system. That's going to continue to be the message from modern medicine for a while yet, until we get to a real revolution in healing and medicine. And once that revolution gains momentum, you will see acupuncture finally accepted in Western societies as a true healing therapy that has tremendous potential for enhancing the health of patients without dangerous side effects.
 
Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo, Harvard Study Concludes
Thursday, December 11, 2008 by: Dave Gabriele, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Is acupuncture nothing more than a dressed-up placebo effect? Not according to a recent joint MIT-Harvard Medical School clinical study. The study, published in the November 2008 issue of the peer-reviewed science journal Behavioural Brain Research, utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to examine the effects of acupuncture in relieving pain.

The effect of manual acupuncture in 12 healthy "acupuncture-naive" subjects (6 male, 6 female) was observed by monitoring fMRI of the brain and [11C]diprenorphine PET. [11C]Diprenorphine is used with PET to measure endogenous opioid release. Endogenous opioids have a morphine-like action in the body. Currently, "…there is strong evidence that acupuncture analgesia is mediated at least in part by opioid systems" (Dougherty, et. al. p.1).

The Study

The randomized study separated subjects into a real acupuncture group and a placebo acupuncture group. The placebo treatment used a validated sham acupuncture needle (Streitberger placebo) so that the sensation was as close to real acupuncture as possible. Using a placebo is generally believed to eliminate any psychological effects, such as expectation or belief, which may corrupt a study.

During the course of four sessions, the researchers induced pain in the subjects by using heat in varying degrees of intensity. The heat pain, which was issued to the right forearm of each subject, was administered before and after a 29-min treatment of either real or placebo acupuncture at acupoint Large Intestine 4 (LI-4).

The fMRI was used to indentify changes in neural activity by measuring blood flow in the brain. The [11C]diprenorphine PET scans looked for binding decreases which is associated with greater opioid release.

The Results

By comparing the two treatments, the study concluded that "… the reduction in pre- and post-treatment pain ratings was significantly greater in the acupuncture group when compared to the placebo group" (Dougherty, et. al. p.3).

"We found more brain changes during true acupuncture than during placebo acupuncture," commented Darin D. Dougherty, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of Neurotherapeutics at Massachusetts General Hospital. "fMRI showed changes in the orbitofrontal cortex, insula, and pons during true acupuncture when compared to placebo acupuncture." The PET scans detected [11C]diprenorphine binding changes during real acupuncture that were very different than the binding changes that occurred during placebo treatment.

The right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) was the only brain region that showed a common change in both types of scans. During real acupuncture, the right OFC demonstrated increased activity (as determined by fMRI) and increased opioid release (as determined by PET). There were no common fMRI and PET changes during placebo acupuncture.

The data suggests that real acupuncture affects the brain differently than placebo acupuncture and is more effective than a placebo in reducing the experience of pain. When asked whether acupuncture is more than a placebo effect, Dr. Dougherty responded, "Yes, the study does show more changes in the brain during active acupuncture than during placebo acupuncture. Therefore, acupuncture certainly entails more than placebo effect."

NCCAM

This study was funded by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The NCCAM is the American Government`s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It is one of 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

SOURCES

1) http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...
2) http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/...
3) http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...
4) http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org...
5) http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...
 
Monday, March 09, 2009 by: Dr Tamer Shaban, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Acupuncture is considered one of the oldest healing therapies in the world. It has been practiced for thousands of years across the world. Its beginning was in China thousands of years ago. Acupuncture is one of the main therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997: "Acupuncture is being "widely" practiced by thousands of physicians, dentists, acupuncturists, and other practitioners for relief or prevention of pain and for various other health conditions".

Acupuncture is a very popular method of healing. In acupuncture, some points on the skin surface are stimulated to treat or prevent diseases. The main theory of acupuncture which explains its efficacy is the presence of vital energy called "chi", which moves in the body through twelve channels called "meridians". Stimulation of points on the surface of these channels is done in numerous ways such as needles, press, heat, electric pulses or cups.

In the Unites States of America, James Reston published his story about his journey to China, in which he described his feelings about acupuncture analgesia after surgery in 1971. After that date, acupuncture research and trials increased. Now, there are many published trials supporting the efficacy of acupuncture in various diseases and its trials are still increasing. World Health Organization supports acupuncture research and practice, and now there are thousands of acupuncturists in the United States of America.

Acupuncture as a procedure is generally safe. In the United States of America, the frequency of acupuncture side effects is one per million, which is a very low frequency. Examples of conditions recommended for acupuncture by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) are: Acute sinusitis, acute rhinitis, common cold, bronchial asthma, toothache, tennis elbow, sciatica, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, constipation, diarrhea, headache, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis and nocturnal enuresis. A landmark study (2004) funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), both components of the National Institutes of Health, has shown that acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee and serves as an effective complement to standard care.

Needle acupuncture is the most used form of acupuncture. Most patients feel no or very minimal pain sensation during needle acupuncture treatment. Patients may need a number of visits. Ten visits are considered one course of treatment and some patients may need more than one course.

Finally, you need to find a qualified acupuncturist to visit. You can find a qualified acupuncturist by advice from your physician or by contacting national acupuncture organizations, which you can find at public libraries or on the world wide web.

Sources:

1-Acupuncture [NCCAM Health Information](http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupunc...)
2-MedlinePlus: Acupuncture (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/acupunc...)
3-National Institutes of Health-Consensus Development Conference Statement (http://consensus.nih.gov/1997/1997A...)
 
By Alison McCook

Tue 19 October, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Regular sessions of acupuncture and daily doses of Chinese herbal medicine may help ease the burden of seasonal allergies, new research indicates.

A group of German investigators found that hay fever sufferers who received weekly acupuncture treatments and took three doses of a Chinese herbal formula per day showed fewer symptoms and were less likely to say their allergy was infringing on their daily activities than people who received a placebo treatment. "There are additional options to conventional medicine," lead author Dr.

Benno Brinkhaus of the Charite University Medical Center in Berlin told Reuters Health. Brinkhaus suggested that people with seasonal allergies should consider acupuncture and herbs, but added that they should use it with caution, given that every treatment has side effects.

According to the report, published in the journal Allergy, the number of people with hay fever is growing in industrialized countries, affecting between 10 and 20 percent of the population. Many of these patients are now opting for alternative medicine, including Chinese remedies, but few studies have rigorously examined their effects, Brinkhaus and colleagues note.

To investigate, the researchers asked 52 adults with moderate hay fever to try a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs or a placebo treatment. People given the placebo regimen had needles applied to non-acupuncture sites, and were given a non-specific Chinese herbal formula.

After 6 weeks, Brinkhaus and colleagues found that 85 percent of treated participants showed overall improvements in their hay fever, compared with only 40 percent of the comparison group.

More specifically, subjects who received the real treatment were more likely to report that their symptoms had decreased. They also tended to say their allergies were having less of an impact on their daily activities, such as sleep, everyday problems and general health. People who got the genuine treatment were also twice as likely to experience a remission of their allergy, and had a bigger decrease in the number of drugs they took to relieve hay fever symptoms during the study period. Patients given the real and sham treatment were equally likely to report side effects.

Brinkhaus noted that this study focused on people who already had symptoms, and acupuncture and herbs may be more effective when used before hay fever kicks in.

SOURCE: Allergy, September 2004.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dop
t=Abstract&list_uids=15291903

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=65449
44&section=news
 
Acupuncture Treatment May Limit Dose of Anti-Depressant Needed

In a randomized, double-blinded, sham-controlled study involving 80 patients with major depressive disorder, treatment with acupuncture (5 treatments per week for 6 weeks) in addition to a low-dose of the anti-depressant, fluoxetine (10 mg/d) was found to be as effective at improving symptoms of depression as subjects who received a higher dose (the recommended dose) of fluoxetine (20-30 mg/d). Moreover, subjects who received acupuncture reported less side effects of the anti-depressant and greater improvement in symptoms of anxiety. The authors conclude that acupuncture may be beneficial to "depressive patients with severe anxious symptoms and/or intolerable side-effects of antidepressants…."

Reference:
"Combination of acupuncture and fluoxetine for depression: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial," Zhang WJ, Yang XB, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2009
 
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