Acupuncture For Cynics

Acupuncture For Cynics

Have You Always Been Curious About Acupuncture, But Were Never Quite Sure Where To Stick The Needles? If you associate acupuncture with needles, pain and weird alternative medicine then you are horribly misinformed about the benefits of the world's oldest form of medicinal treatment.

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Electrodermal testingelectroacupuncture

This is a test used by alternative or complementary health workers. The device used for this in vivo test is made up of a galvanometer that measures the activity of the skin at designated acupuncture points. The patient holds the negative electrode in one hand, while the positive electrode is pressed upon the points. Vials of food extracts in contact with an aluminium plate are also within the circuit. A drop in electrical current is diagnostic of an allergy to that particular food. There is no clearly described theory behind the procedure, and furthermore no clinical or scientific evidence that electro-dermal testing can diagnose food allergy.


Acupuncture is the insertion of small needles along various parts of your body. The theory behind acupuncture involves rebalancing your body's power as it runs through energy fields called meridians. Though still not completely accepted by traditional Western medicine, acupuncture has been shown in various clinical trials to benefit both female and male fertility problems. One such study was conducted by the University of Heidelberg in Germany and published in 1992 by Gynecological Endocrinology. The study involved 90 women with irregular menstrual cycles. Half of these women were given acupuncture at treatment points on their ears. The remaining women were treated with hormones. The study found that women treated with acupuncture had 22 pregnancies. Women treated with hormones had 20 pregnancies. It was also noted that several undesirable side effects were seen among the women in the hormone group, but no side effects occurred in the acupuncture group. The study concluded that...

Complementary therapies

ACUPUNCTURE A recent small randomized controlled trial of 45 post-menopausal women undergoing shallow acupuncture, electro-acupuncture or oral oestrogen administration showed a significant reduction in hot flush frequency in all three groups. The degree of symptom reduction was greatest in the oestrogen group 56 . Although no adverse effects were demonstrated in this study, rare adverse effects such as cardiac tamponade, pneumothorax and hepatitis have been described. Further data are required to establish the precise benefits of acupuncture for the menopause.

Treatment of SWST

In another study with similar techniques, 3 6 (50 ) SW patients were much improved or spell-free after 18 months and 2 3 (67 ) were likewise after 5 years follow-up 69 . Progressive muscle relaxation training has also been utilized 70 . In children, use of anticipatory awakenings 71 , clinical hypnosis 72,73 , and a combination of acupuncture with medicinal herbs have been documented as helpful 74 .


Only betony seems to have a longer list of ailments for which it is prescribed. Only a few of the important uses can be discussed here. Chinese medicine uses it extensively, and recognizes several forms in commercial use, including a cautery use that is additional to that which forms part of normal acupuncture treatment. One of the best-known pieces of folklore in this country involving mugwort is the Clyde legend that as the funeral procession of a young woman who had died of consumption was passing along the high road, a mermaid surfaced, and said

Treatment dilemmas

Many women seek complementary or alternative therapies for CPP. At present there is limited research evidence on which to base recommendations for specific treatments. Acupuncture has a place in the management of chronic pain in general, and there is supportive evidence for benefit in dysmenorrhoea 40 . Most importantly in this writer's view, many patients will appreciate a broad consideration of physical conditions, lifestyle factors, psychological stresses and advice on means of dealing with thoughts and feelings as part of a consultation for CPP, whether in 'conventional' or 'complementary' clinic settings.