By Terri Klein
Two recently conducted studies point to increased acceptance and support of acupuncture’s use in Western medicine. The first was a study released in the widely respected Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study revealed that, based on information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, far more Americans in every age and demographic group are using acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment with traditional medicine.
As if to add weight and emphasis to support those results, the Archives of Internal Medicine has just published a study that specifically looked at the effectiveness of using Acupuncture to treat COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), an irreversible condition that makes breathing difficult, particularly exhaling. The study was conducted in Japan at Kyoto University, and measured the impact of acupuncture on a group of 68 COPD patients.
Patients with COPD generally experience a variety of symptoms, including a chronic cough, frequent respiratory infections, and shortness of breath. The study specifically measured the impact of twelve weekly acupuncture treatments on the patients’ ability to breathe after walking a specific distance; it also measured improvement or decreases in the distance that the patients were able to walk. The patients were already being treated using traditionally medication, and that medical course was not altered.
Although the study did not indicate a specific medical mechanism at work, it clearly show marked improvement in the patients who received the acupuncture treatment versus those who were in the placebo group. Over the course of the twelve week period, the patients who received placebo treatments actually experienced an increase in their shortness of breath and were no longer able to walk the same distance that they had at the beginning of the study. By contrast, not only did the group who received the traditional needling treatment show decreased shortness of breath, they actually increased the distance that they were able to walk by almost ten percent. One researcher suggested that the difference may have been attributable to the relaxation of some of the previously stressed respiratory muscles as a result of the treatment.
One of the most notable comments about the results came after a researcher from another university reviewed the study. “We don’t know if this is going to extend life, but the study suggests it improves quality of life,” said Dr. George Lewith, from the University of Southampton in England.”If I had enough money and I was the patient, I would give acupuncture a try