Acupuncture boosts IVF success
user posted image rAcupuncture may increase the success rates of fertility treatment, according to a study. The Dutch and US research, published in the British Medical Journal, found for every 10 IVF cycles with acupuncture, there would be one extra pregnancy. However, the study, which looked at more than 1,300 women, hinted that patients at European clinics might not benefit as strongly. A UK alternative medicine expert said he was not convinced by the results. Approximately 10% to 15% of British couples have difficulty conceiving at some point in their lives and look for specialist fertility treatment. IVF involves fertilising the egg with sperm outside the woman's body then putting the resulting embryo back into the womb. Some couples face repeated expensive attempts to achieve a pregnancy.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to regulate female fertility, and in recent years, scientists have been looking at whether it could boost IVF chances.
Acupuncture Reduces Pain After Breast Surgery
ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2001) — NEW ORLEANS – Acupuncture is just as effective as the leading medication used to reduce nausea and vomiting after major breast surgery, according to a new study conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers. The 5,000-year-old Chinese practice also decreased postoperative pain in these women, they report.
Based on strong trends emerging during the course of their ongoing clinical trial, the Duke researchers believe acupuncture is an effective antiemetic (a drug that reduces nausea and vomiting) that is less expensive and has fewer side effects than medications currently used.
"Up to 70 percent of women who undergo major breast surgery experience significant postoperative nausea and vomiting, so it is an important medical issue," said lead investigator and Duke anesthesiologist Dr. Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan.
"We've known from previous studies that acupuncture can be an effective antiemetic when compared to placebo, but it has never been tested against one of the most commonly used medications ondansetron (Zofran)," Gan continued. "Acupuncture turns out to be just as effective as the drug or better, and our patients also reported much less pain after surgery, a finding that surprised us."
Gan presented the results of his team's study today (Oct. 15) during the annual scientific sessions of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
The study enrolled 40 women who were undergoing major breast surgery (breast augmentation, breast reduction or mastectomy) requiring general anesthesia. The procedures lasted between two and four hours, and most women were discharged after spending the night in the hospital.
Women were equally divided into three groups – one received acupuncture before the surgery, one received ondansetron prior to surgery and one received neither. They found that two hours following surgery, 23 percent of acupuncture patients reported nausea, compared to 36 percent for the drug and 69 percent for placebo. After 24 hours, 38 percent of acupuncture patients reported nausea, compared to 57 percent for the drug and 61 percent for placebo.
In regards to vomiting, 7 percent of acupuncture patients reported vomiting two hours following surgery, compared to 7 percent who received ondansetron and 23 percent who received the placebo. After 24 hours, 23 percent of acupuncture patients reported vomiting, compared to 28 percent for the drug and 46 percent for placebo.
"We were most surprised by the level of pain reported by women, with 31 percent of acupuncture patients reporting moderate to severe pain two hours after surgery, compared to 64 percent for ondansetron and 77 percent for placebo," Gan said.
Specifically, the researchers applied acupuncture at the sixth point along the pericardial meridian, which is located two inches below the bottom of the palm of the hand and between the two tendons connecting the lower arm with the wrist. According to Chinese healing practices, there are about 360 specific points along 14 different lines, or meridians, that course throughout the body just under the skin.
"The Chinese believe that our vital energy, known as chi, courses throughout the body along these meridians," Gan explained. "While healthiness is a state where the chi is in balance, unhealthiness arises from either too much or too little chi, or a blockage in the flow of the chi. By applying acupuncture to certain well-known points, the Chinese believe they can bring the chi back into balance."
For their study, the researchers used electroacupuncture, which uses an electrode – like that used in standard EKG tests – at the appropriate point. Instead of actually breaking the skin with the traditional long slender needles, the electroacupuncture device delivers a small electrical pulse through the skin.
"Electroacupuncture enhances or heightens the effects of traditional acupuncture," Gan explained. "In China, when acupuncture is used during surgery for pain relief, they commonly use electroacupuncture devices."
While it is not completely known why or how acupuncture – whether electroacupuncture or traditional – works, recent research seems to point to its ability to stimulate the release of hormones or the body's own painkillers, known as endorphins, Gan said.
"Ten years ago, a study involving acupuncture would not have been accepted at a scientific meeting like this," Gan said. "In many ways, the practices of the East are being accepted by the West, especially as we continue to learn why practices like acupuncture work."
The Duke trial will continue with a total of 75 patients, at which point the results will be used as the basis of an application to the National Institutes of Health for a larger clinical trial. The researchers also will look to combine acupuncture with antiemetics to see if this combination of Eastern and Western approaches has greater effectiveness.
The research was supported by Duke's department of anesthesiology. Duke colleagues Dr. Steve Parillo, Dr. Jennifer Fortney and Dr. Gregory Georgiade were part of Gan's research team.
And that acupuncture can relieve shoulder pain after surgery:
The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of traditional Chinese acupuncture in the treatment of scapulohumeral pain during the early stage following heart surgery.... Reduction of pain and angular gain were almost immediate, durable, measurable and reproducible....
And that wrist acupuncture can relieve postoperative nausea at least as well as pain meds:
Wrist acupuncture is as effective as medication for easing post-operation nausea, according to research reported next Saturday in the British weekly New Scientist. Hong Kong and Australian scientists reviewed 26 trials [involving] 3,000 patients who were either given P6 acupuncture or sham treatment ... Those who received the right treatment were 28 per cent less likely to feel nauseous and 24 per cent less likely to ask for anti-sickness drugs compared to those who got the placebo treatment. Acupuncture was just as effective as routine anti-sickness drugs in preventing nausea and vomiting, but had few side effects and was cheaper, the study found.
Electrostimulation acupuncture is used instead of anesthesia by some Chinese surgeons performing invasive procedures:
A woman in her 60's presented with a fractured ulnar olecranon. The surgery would include the placing of some nails and other hardware into her olecranon to fasten it more securely to the shaft of the ulna.
Due to her advanced years, it was decided that acupuncture anesthesia would be used instead of Western drugs to avoid any possible adverse reactions.
One half hour before the surgery, while the prep was taking place, we inserted two needles into the patient.... The electro-stim began at 100 Hz ... to simply stimulate the body into secreting endorphins.... Once the surgery began, the patient complained of some discomfort and we turned the strength of the electro-stim up from "1" to "2". The idea isn't to double the amplitude, but to simply turn it up to induce the anesthetic response of the nerve being effected. We also turned down the frequency form 100 Hz to 50 Hz...
The controls didn't once change after the surgery began. The surgery lasted about 45 minutes and went off without a hitch. After the cut was sutured and the nurses were cleaning up the patient, we removed the needles. The patient was in good spirits.
Acupuncture can relieve lower back pain and leg pain:
The use of acupuncture for lumbar disc protrusion pain provided convenient and effective pain relief without side effects. Although the limitations ... of our study must be considered, classical acupuncture appears to be superior to placebo acupuncture in limiting the overall disabilities caused by the pain of lumbar disc protrusion pain.
Patients at Cedars-Sinai swear by acupuncture:
Caroll Clark is one of the Cedars-Sinai patients who volunteered for acupuncture therapy. She expected the bed rest after surgery to exacerbate an ongoing back problem.
"I have a vertebra in my back that I was a little concerned about, that I had told the doctor about," she said. "My back was hurting the first two days (after surgery) and then when they did the acupuncture, it quit hurting and I never took any pills after the second day I was in the hospital. One evening I took some Extra Strength Tylenol but as far as pain pills, the narcotic kind, I didn't have to take any after that."
Her pain relief was so complete, Clark thought she was receiving pain medication. "I asked the nurse about it. She said, 'No, you don't get pain medicine unless you ask for it. Do you want some?' I said, no, I just thought you gave it to me naturally because I wasn't having pain."
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