Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Acupuncture without Puncture – Is it Better?

Alternative medicines are becoming increasingly popular by the day, a recent NCCAM survey showed that approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States aged 18 years and over and nearly 12 percent of U.S. children aged 17 years and under use some form of complementary and alternative medicines. However, there are also concerns about effectiveness, and the safety of some treatments.

Acupuncture is an age-old traditional Chinese therapy that's helped millions of people over centuries, see for instance, see how acupuncture can help women. And now even animals benefit from acupuncture. But it seems that scientists have begun exploring newer renditions of this traditional complementary medicine – “Acupuncture without needle penetration.”

Acupuncture Sans “Puncture”

Recently, studies involving cancer patients suffering from nausea during radiotherapy were conducted to see if the patients were relieved by “acupuncture without insertion” just as they were with “acupuncture with penetration.”

All of the four studies conducted at the Department of Medicine and Health Sciences at Linköping University and the Vårdal Institute in Sweden. One of the studies involved 215 patients who were undergoing radiation treatment to undergo one of these two acupuncture types.

While, 109 received traditional acupuncture, with needles penetrating the skin in particular points, the other 106 patients got only a simulated acupuncture with telescopic, blunt placebo needles barely touching the skin.

The results were startling, about 95 percent of the patients in both groups felt that the acupuncture treatment had helped relieve nausea.

Unlike many other forms of alternative medication, acupuncture scores better on proven efficacy in relieving several maladies. However, it's also well-known that when it's not administered properly, it can cause serious adverse effects, including infections and punctured organs.

But with this new study showing acupuncture without penetration being just as effective as it's traditional counterpart, there's hope that some of the risks such as that of infections, can almost be eliminated at source.

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