Have You Ever Heard of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is quite a long name for a condition. And while you may think you haven’t heard of it before, chances are you actually have.

Also known as Bechterew's disease, it’s essentially a form of arthritis of the spine. And it was just discovered that acupuncture can not only help, but is actually more effective than prescription medication, too.

Those with Ankylosing Spondylitis causes inflammation of the spinal joints, AKA vertebrae, and can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.ms Symptoms typically begin onset in early adulthood and can quickly lead to immobility and postural issues, eventually leading to a hunched over position.

HealthCMi just reported that according to their research, the combination of acupuncture and herbs actually outperforms the commonly prescribed Sulfasalazine (a prescription anti-rheumatic medication) in alleviating symptoms of those with ankylosing spondylitis.

Some patients in the study received the prescription drug while others received acupuncture and herbs over 60 consecutive days.

The acupoints used for the acupuncture group included the following:

  • GV6 (Jizhong)

  • Extra points (Huatuojiaji)

  • BL23 (Shenshu)

  • GV2 (Yaoshu)

  • GB34 (Yanglingquan)

  • Extra points (Ashi)

  • GB33 (Yangguan)

  • GV14 (Dazhui)

  • GV9 (Zhiyang)

  • GV8 (Jinsuo)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group receiving herbal medicine plus acupuncture achieved the highest positive patient outcome rate of 52.8%, with only a 2.8% adverse effect rate. The drug therapy group had an adverse effect rate of 38.7%. I

Therefore, the researchers concluded, “laboratory and clinical data indicates that acupuncture plus herbal medicine is more effective for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis than sulfasalazine. Acupuncture plus herbs improves symptoms and disease related biomarkers. Given the results of this investigation, additional research is warranted.”

Acupuncture for Alcoholism? It Works for Rats!

Adding to the long list of ailments and disorders acupuncture helps to treat? Alcoholism.

Well, at least in rats it does — which is at the very least, a bit promising for humans, too.

A recent article in Gizmodo reports, that in both the United States and Korea, researchers forced rats to be addicted to alcohol and then tried to help with their withdrawal symptoms by utilizing traditional acupuncture. The result? A success.

While this doesn’t mean acupuncture can cure alcoholism in humans, even knowing it helped with withdrawal is positive.

Published this past Wednesday in Science Advances, a control group of rats were not addicted to alcohol while the experimental group were trained to use a lever that fed them water mixed with alcohol. In 16 days, they were hooked. On Day 17, they were not given alcohol for two hours and began to experience typical withdrawal symptoms including tremors and anxiety.

Acupuncture treatment was given at the Shen Men or Heart 7 point, located on the wrist.

The authors of the study, “found that the alcohol-dependent rats given acupuncture at HT7 were less likely to experience withdrawal symptoms than those not given it; they also fed themselves less alcohol when they later had the opportunity to do so.”

Furthermore, based on research conducted separately form this experiment, the same researchers also theorized that, “HT7 could treat alcohol dependence by affecting neurons in the brain that produce beta endorphins, a natural opioid and “feel-good” chemical. Beta endorphins likely play an important role in alcohol dependence.”

Interestingly, the rats who received acupuncture at the HT7 point, “seemed to have their levels of beta endorphins rebound during withdrawal, specifically because of neurons activated in the hypothalamus, a region linked to alcohol dependence. “

The conclusion?

“These results suggest that acupuncture may provide a novel, potential treatment strategy for alcohol use disorder by direct activation of the brain pathway,” the authors wrote.

While there is a lot more work and research to be done, this is a promising finding and we hope research continues to be supported to find out how else acupuncture can help.

Psoriasis and Acupuncture

Just last week, Medical News Today released an exciting and confirming article that reaffirmed the belied that acupuncture can help those suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

While we always believed in the power of acupuncture to treat both of these related conditions, examining the literature was quite uplifting.

The multitude of ways in which acupuncture possess powerful healing abilities are seemingly endless, and while science sometimes has a way of making it hard to provide tangible proof, the cited studies are certainly reassuring . while there are still more larger scale, supervised studies to be performed.

Because of how acupuncture can help with inflammation and immunity, it is believed it can help with the skin-based symptoms of psoriasis which can often lead to itchy, peeling, painful and scaly patches of skin.

As if that isn’t enough to deal with, some people with skin-based psoriasis symptoms may also have PsA, or psoriatic arthritis, which leads to joint pain, swelling, stiffness and immobility.

Traditionally, over the counter and prescription medications are often prescribed by physicians as the first line of defense, in addition to steroid injections or pills, and the avoidance of things that worsen inflammation like alcohol, smoking, and certain foods high in acidity.

Medical News Today shared the following breakdown of literature reviews and studies that . are supportive of acupunctures benefits in treating these symptoms.

  • A 2015 systematic review found "some evidence of benefit" in treating psoriasis. However, its authors explain that they based their conclusions on a small number of studies, and that there were some conflicting results.

  • A 2017 overview of the literature on acupuncture for psoriasis was more optimistic. The authors claim that acupuncture treatment for psoriasis is "simple, convenient, and effective," with minimal side effects and little risk of toxicity.

  • A 2017 review of 13 randomized trials states that acupuncture-related treatments "could be considered" as an alternative therapy for the short-term treatment of psoriasis, and that more well designed studies would be helpful.

Measuring acupunctures success is not easy, as each persons treatment and progress is highly individual and personal. However, these studies all seem to be reaffirming and in the right direction.

Acupuncture is an affordable, minimally invasive way to treat your symptoms, so you have quite literally nothing to lose by giving it a try, and quite a bit to gain.

MRI Anxiety? Study Proves Acupuncture Can Help

It’s a cold, hard fact that nobody in the world enjoys getting an MRI — a procedure used for diagnostic imaging that involves immersing yourself in a well, cold and hard machine.

 

For people with claustrophobia, it can be a real nightmare.  

 

Yet thanks to a recent study published by HealthCMi, acupuncture can help.

 

Researchers at the Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that true acupuncture proved more effective than “sham acupuncture” (the control group”) in treating those who suffer f claustrophobia during an MRI.

 

Claustrophobia can be extremely problematic for both the patient and the imager. The patient may begin to feel panic attacks o extreme nervousness, and unable to continue with the procedure — leading to inconclusive results.

 

So researches set out to treat the nervousness and fear by, “soothing the liver qi, tonifying the kidney qi, and stabilizing the spirit and mind.”

 

Those who received that treatment achieved a 92.5% effective rate. Those who did not? Twenty-five percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.

 

So, acupuncture clearly worked.

 

For one session with a 30-minute needle retention rime, the rotating and twisting technique of acupuncture was performed at the following acupoints:

 

  • KI6 (Zhaohai)

  • LV3 (Taichong)

  • HT4 (Lingdao)

  • PC6 (Neiguan)

  • HT7 (Shenmen)

  • CV17 (Danzhong)

  • GV20 (Baihui)

  • GB20 (Fengchi)

In the sham group, they were inserted elsewhere, at irrelevant points.

 

After the treatment, the patients were evaluated using the SAI, or State Anxiety Inventory which assessed their emotions and anxiety. When, “fear and relevant symptoms showed improvement, and a patient could complete an MRI examination,” it was considered effective — which was 92.5% of the time.

 

The bottom line? Acupuncture before an MRI just might make a world of difference.

All About Equine Acupuncture

We’ve previously covered the benefits of acupuncture for both humans AND animals — further proving the efficacy, importance and versatility of acupuncture treatment. And while it’s becoming more widespread within the animal kingdom, perhaps the most success so far can be seen within the horse population.

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As a recent article from Ocala.com explains, acupuncture is helping horses to heal, avoid surgeries, lessen pain, and release endorphins.

After practicing acupuncture for 35 years Dr. Huisheng Xie recently opened the Equine Acupuncture Center in Reddick, Florida. It is there that horse owner Lousia Flaig sought treatment for her 14 year old horse Songline, who had previously had surgery for an injured tendon. Unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful, and the horse had not been able to return to his prior activities in eventing, and a s a stallion.

Flaig explained, “We were looking for an alternative. He already had surgery once. I feel doing this, we can’t go wrong, and with surgery we can make it worse.”

So, Xie performed acupuncture treatment on Songline, inserting acuneedles along points in the horse’s back and leg, and connected them to electric stim. Perhaps surprisingly or perhaps not for true acupuncture believers, “Within minutes the horses lower lip began to droop, a sign of a relaxed horse.”

Xie explained this as the release of endorphins having a morphine-like effect.

In further support of veterinary acupuncture, recent vet school grad Emily Roth said that throughout her experience with the practice being used on animals, “I really saw very profound results. Predominantly, pain relief in a lot of lameness cases and chronic pain issues. It treats the whole body and helps the body heal itself and ultimately that should be the goal in medicine versus using more invasive techniques.”

Instead of subjecting animals to surgeries that require extensive healing time and further rehabilitation, more and more anecdotal evidence as well as research supports . the notion of trying acupuncture first, or in conjunction with more traditional therapies.

Acupuncture Effective for one of the Most Common Disorders Facing Men

Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) is one of the most common health
issues facing men, and it can greatly affect quality of life. Worldwide, it affects anywhere up to
16% of the male population, and it can often go undiagnosed for years. Some men may just think
the symptoms they experience are normal or untreatable—increased urination frequency, pain in
the pelvis, fatigue, and more.

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Making matters worse, many people who suffer from prostatitis only treat the problem with medications, whether it’s antibiotics  (because the cause is bacteria), or alpha blockers and anti- inflammatory medication. But these only treat symptoms. The root causes go deeper. Often prostatitis is brought  upon by stress in the body.


That’s why acupuncture is one of the most effective ways to safely and completely treat
prostatitis. Over the years, a number of studies have confirmed that acupuncture is an effective
treatment option. A study done in Turkey showed that acupuncture was more effective than
narcotics in dealing with acupuncture. But for some people, narcotics are not effective at all. In
Canada, a study was done on 12 men suffering from CP/CPPS who had tried narcotics but did
not find them affective. The men all received acupuncture treatments, and all 12 reported
improved pain and urinary symptoms.


“Acupuncture appears to be a safe, effective, and durable treatment in
improving symptoms in, and the quality of life of, men with chronic
prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome refractory to treatment,” the
study concluded.


Chances are, you or someone you know suffers from CP/CPPS. While
medications can help, acupuncture is the best way to relieve the
symptoms and treat the root causes of this very common disorder.
Anyone who has had their quality of life affected by the pain and
unreliability brought upon by CP/CPPS will find acupuncture as a
lasting solution.

Can Acupuncture Help Improve Your Workouts?

Working out and physical activity is an incredible way to improve your health, tone your body, and increase your overall sense of well-being. When complimented by a healthful diet, it’s even better. Certain vitamins and nutrients can help your body both prepare for, and recover from, a physical workout.

But what about when workouts are complimented by acupuncture? Can acupuncture improve your workouts? It can. Here’s how.

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According to a recent post on ActiveHealthCenter.com entitled 5 Ways Acupuncture Can Boost Your Workout, “Whether you’re on a regular schedule at the gym, you play recreational sports, or you simply make it a point to get the 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity Health Canada says you should get every week, acupuncture can help improve your performance.”

It then outlines five ways that acupuncture can improve the quality of your workouts, and your overall health.


The first, no surprise to us, is that it increases blood flow. The author explains, “Acupuncture stimulates the production of nitric oxide in your body. In turn, nitric oxide helps your blood vessels to relax and opens your arteries. Not only will you have more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscles and joints, you’ll enjoy better overall circulation.”

The second benefit?  The promotion of homeostasis, which can, “boost in muscle function, biomechanics and balance” and ensures your system is running properly.

Next up, injury prevention. If your body is running optimally, the likelihood for injury is reduce.

Fourth, most gym junkies know the importance of rest, recovery and stretching. Since acupuncture can help aid in sleep, relaxation and production of feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones, you’ll be able to make the most of your down time and rest-days physiologically, and mentally.

Lastly, the article explains that the psychological benefits of acupuncture can also improve your workouts indirectly. It explains, “The best workouts come from a mind/body balance. If you’re mentally fatigued, depressed or anxious, it can dull your workout focus and energy and affect your performance and results. In addition to helping balance all your physical systems, acupuncture can do the same for mental systems too. The release of endorphins helps promote a more positive outlook, and the balance in energy helps to relieve stress”

If you’re looking for a sixth reason, how about – acupuncture is simply great and can help in most areas, not just workouts and physical activity. So, why not give it a try.

 

 

An Argument for Acupuncture use in the Emergency Room

It’s hard to watch the news these days without hearing of the crippling opioid epidemic that is sweeping our nation. With stronger prescription pain medication regulations and the high risk of addiction and/or overdoes, people are swiftly turning to other resources and options when it comes to pain management. While many may already know the benefits of acupuncture for chronic pain, it is now considered an option for acute moderate to severe pain, as well.

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In emergency rooms (where people typically go for sudden or concerning pain) doctors are becoming increasingly cautious about the use of prescription pain medication administered orally or intravenously. Instead, according to a recent article in Forbes, a recently published study out of Australia has found that acupuncture is a safe and alternative option to opiates; depending on the patient, of course.

Dr. Marc Cohen, the lead investigator behind the study, said to Forbes, "Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions. But it's clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received.”

Dr. Sergey Motov, M.D, a specialist in pain management, and an attending ER physician at Maimonides in Brooklyn was also quoted in the article as saying, “I am very supportive for use of acupuncture in the ED as an adjunct to opioid analgesics with a hope of opioid reduction and to non-opioid analgesics as a part of multimodal approach.”

We find these results and support incredibly valuable, as holistic methods are often effective yet overlooked.

If you find yourself suffering from chronic pain, acupuncture is sure worth giving a chance. And while acupuncture can provide relief- as always-  any concerning pain or symptoms should be addressed with your physical as soon as possible.