Acupuncture provides not only relief from pain and healing from illness but also prevents disease and promotes overall health and well-being. Over 5,000 years, acupuncture has been an effective modality to achieve all of these results. Western medicine has struggled to understand the focus of traditional Chinese medicine because it is based on paradigms that are completely different from Western medical constructs. However, acupuncture is gaining ground as a viable referral from medical physicians, in part due to research and studies funded and conducted by respected institutions and researchers throughout the United States, Germany, Canada and the U.K.
In October 2010, the medical journal Heart published results of a study which showed that acupuncture can dramatically improve exercise tolerance levels in patients suffering from chronic heart failure. After acupuncture treatments, “the patients could walk far longer than those in the placebo group” and “they recovered more quickly after exercise and reported they felt far less exhausted.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/z029377_acupuncture_heart_failure.html)
In December 2010, findings using functional magnetic resonance imaging were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America which clearly showed a positive change in the metabolic activity of patients’ brains receiving acupuncture treatment. Observing areas of the brain that are activated during pain perception, “The team found that the pain activation centers in the participants’ brains became less active and even deactivated in the presence of acupuncture treatment.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/z030736_acupuncture_chronic_pain.html)
In September of 2012, research financed by the National Institutes of Health and carried out over a decade involving nearly 18,000 patients was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The research found that acupuncture outperformed placebo treatments and standard medical care in those who suffered from osteoarthritis, migraines, and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. The lead author of the study, Dr. Andrew J. Vickers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, stated, “We think there’s firm evidence supporting acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain.” (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/acupuncture-provides-true-pain-relief-in-study/?ref=acupuncture and http://www.naturalnews.com/z037428_acupuncture_chronic_pain_migraines.html)
A study by the University of York Department of Health Studies in the U.K. in the fall of 2012 showed positive results in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) using acupuncture. “The trial used 233 long-term IBS sufferers, average duration 13 years, whose severity scores (SSS) were 100 or more. They were split into two treatment protocols. Half received standard medical care and the other half standard care plus one weekly acupuncture session for 10 weeks. Those who received acupuncture showed greater reductions in their SSS scores, but more importantly, these improvements lasted through follow-up testing at three, six, nine, and 12 months after the treatments.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/z038270_IBS_acupuncture_natural_remedies.html)
The results of these studies, among others not mentioned here, are helping to elevate acupuncture as a viable treatment modality among Western medical physicians. These studies continue to validate the experiences of the millions of individuals each year who benefit from acupuncture.