Facebook

Acupuncture

Acupuncture and oriental medicine can safely and effectively address your pain goals and strengthen your immune system with fewer side-effects than prescription medicine. Why wait to benefit from acupuncture and oriental medicine? We have a variety of treatments including acupuncture, cupping and Chinese (herbal medicine) pharmacopeia.

Call for Acupuncture Pricing

Not sure? Questions? Call one of our acupuncturists at 714.974.0330, with any questions and to schedule your first acupuncture or herbal medicine visit.

Acupuncture Background Information (Wikipedia)

Acupuncture (from Lat. acus, “needle”, and pungere, “prick”) or in Standard Mandarin, zhe-n bia-n (a related word, zhe-n jiu, refers to acupuncture together with moxibustion) is a technique of inserting and manipulating fine filiform needles into specific points on the body with the aim of relieving pain and for therapeutic purposes. According to acupuncture theory, these acupuncture points lie along meridians along which qi, a kind of vital energy, is said to flow. There is no generally-accepted anatomical or histological basis for these concepts, and modern acupuncturists tend to view them in functional rather than structural terms, (viz. as a useful metaphor in guiding evaluation and care of patients). Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Classical Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Korean acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.

While acupuncture has been a subject of active scientific research since the late 20th century, its effects are not well-understood, and it remains controversial among researchers and clinicians. The body of evidence remains inconclusive but is active and growing, and a 2007 review by Edzard Ernst and colleagues finds that the “emerging clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions”.

The WHO, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various government reports have all studied and commented on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles, and that further research is warranted.

According to the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (2004), acupuncture may be considered as a complementary therapy for the conditions in the list below. The conditions labeled with * are also included in the World Health Organization list of acupuncture indications. These cases, however, are based on clinical experience, and not necessarily on controlled clinical research: furthermore, the inclusion of specific diseases is not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture’s efficacy in treating them.

  • Abdominal Distention/Flatulence*
  • Acute and Chronic Pain Control*
  • Allergic Sinusitis*
  • Anesthesia for High-risk Patients or Patients with Previous Adverse Responses to Anesthetics
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety, Fright, Panic*
  • Arthritis/Arthrosis*
  • Atypical Chest Pain (negative workup)
  • Bursitis, Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome*
  • Certain Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel)*
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine Syndromes*
  • Constipation, Diarrhea*
  • Cough with Contraindications for Narcotics
  • Drug Detoxification*
  • Dysmenorrhea, Pelvic Pain*
  • Frozen Shoulder*
  • Headache (migraine and tension-type), Vertigo (Meniere disease), Tinnitus*
  • Idiopathic Palpitations, Sinus Tachycardia

  • Assisting in Pain Control, Edema, and Enhancing Healing Process for Fractures
  • Muscle Spasms, Tremors, Tics, Contractures*
  • Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)
  • Paresthesias*
  • Persistent Hiccups*
  • Phantom Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis*
  • Post-traumatic and Post-operative Ileus*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Selected Dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
  • Sequelae of Stroke Syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia)*
  • Seventh Nerve Palsy
  • Severe Hyperthermia
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Sprains and Contusions
  • Temporo-mandibular Joint Derangement, Bruxism*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect)*
  • Weight Loss
  • Abdominal Distention/Flatulence*
  • Acute and Chronic Pain Control*
  • Allergic Sinusitis*
  • Anesthesia for High-risk Patients or Patients with Previous Adverse Responses to Anesthetics
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety, Fright, Panic*
  • Arthritis/Arthrosis*
  • Atypical Chest Pain (negative workup)
  • Bursitis, Tendinitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome*
  • Certain Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel)*
  • Cervical and Lumbar Spine Syndromes*
  • Constipation, Diarrhea*
  • Cough with Contraindications for Narcotics
  • Drug Detoxification*
  • Dysmenorrhea, Pelvic Pain*
  • Frozen Shoulder*
  • Headache (migraine and tension-type), Vertigo (Meniere disease), Tinnitus*
  • Idiopathic Palpitations, Sinus Tachycardia
  • Assisting in Pain Control, Edema, and Enhancing Healing Process for Fractures
  • Muscle Spasms, Tremors, Tics, Contractures*
  • Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)
  • Paresthesias*
  • Persistent Hiccups*
  • Phantom Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis*
  • Post-traumatic and Post-operative Ileus*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Selected Dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
  • Sequelae of Stroke Syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia)*
  • Seventh Nerve Palsy
  • Severe Hyperthermia
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Sprains and Contusions
  • Temporo-mandibular Joint Derangement, Bruxism*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect)*
  • Weight Loss

Evidence-based Medicine

There is scientific agreement that an evidence-based medicine (EBM) framework should be used to assess health outcomes and that systematic reviews with strict protocols are essential. Organizations such as the Cochrane Collaboration and Bandolier publish such reviews. In practice, EBM is “about integrating individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence” and thus does not demand that doctors ignore research outside its “top-tier” criteria.

The development of the evidence base for acupuncture was summarized in a review by researcher Edzard Ernst and colleagues in 2007. They compared systematic reviews conducted (with similar methodology) in 2000 and 2005:

The effectiveness of acupuncture remains a controversial issue… The results indicate that the evidence base has increased for 13 of the 26 conditions included in this comparison. For 7 indications it has become more positive (i.e., favoring acupuncture) and for 6 it had changed in the opposite direction. It is concluded, that acupuncture research is active. The emerging clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions.

For low back pain, a Cochrane review (2005) stated:

Thirty-five RCTs covering 2861 patients were included in this systematic review. There is insufficient evidence to make any recommendations about acupuncture or dry-needling for acute low-back pain. For chronic low-back pain, results show that acupuncture is more effective for pain relief than no treatment or sham treatment, in measurements taken up to three months. The results also show that for chronic low-back pain, acupuncture is more effective for improving function than no treatment, in the short-term. Acupuncture is not more effective than other conventional and “alternative” treatments. When acupuncture is added to other conventional therapies, it relieves pain and improves function better than the conventional therapies alone. However, effects are only small. Dry-needling appears to be a useful adjunct to other therapies for chronic low-back pain.

A 2008 study suggest that combining acupuncture with conventional infertility treatments such as IVF greatly improves the success rates of such medical interventions.

A review by Manheimer et al. in Annals of Internal Medicine (2005) reached conclusions similar to Cochrane’s review on low back pain. A review for the American Pain Society/American College of Physicians found fair evidence that acupuncture is effective for chronic low back pain.

For nausea and vomiting: The Cochrane review (Lee and Done, 2006) on the use of the P6 acupoint for the reduction of post-operative nausea and vomiting concluded that the use of P6 acupoint stimulation can reduce the risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting with minimal side effects, albeit with efficacy less than or equal to prophylactic (i.e., preventative) treatment with antiemetic drugs. Cochrane also stated: “Electroacupuncture is effective for first day vomiting after chemotherapy, but trials considering modern antivomiting drugs are needed.

A 2007 Cochrane Review for the use of acupuncture for neck pain stated:

There is moderate evidence that acupuncture relieves pain better than some sham treatments, measured at the end of the treatment. There is moderate evidence that those who received acupuncture reported less pain at short term follow-up than those on a waiting list. There is also moderate evidence that acupuncture is more effective than inactive treatments for relieving pain post-treatment and this is maintained at short-term follow-up.

For headache, Cochrane concluded (2006) that “(o)verall, the existing evidence supports the value of acupuncture for the treatment of idiopathic headaches. However, the quality and amount of evidence are not fully convincing. There is an urgent need for well-planned, large-scale studies to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture under real-life conditions.

For osteoarthritis, reviews since 2006 show acupuncture to be more effective than no treatment at all, but approximately as effective as sham acupuncture (wherein needles are inserted in points that, according to acupuncture theory, should not be effective.

For fibromyalgia, a systematic review of the best 5 randomized controlled trials available found mixed results. Three positive studies, all using electro-acupuncture, found short term benefits. The methodological quality of the 5 trials was mixed and frequently low.

For the following conditions, the Cochrane Collaboration has concluded there is insufficient evidence to determine whether acupuncture is beneficial, often because of the paucity and poor quality of the research, and that further research is needed:

  • Chronic Asthma
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Cocaine Dependence (auricular acupuncture)
  • Depression
  • Primary Dysmenorrhoea (acupuncture plus transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Induction of Childbirth

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Acute Stroke
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Tennis Elbow (lateral elbow pain)
  • Vascular Dementia

  • Chronic Asthma
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Cocaine Dependence (auricular acupuncture)
  • Depression
  • Primary Dysmenorrhoea (acupuncture plus transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Induction of Childbirth
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Acute Stroke
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Tennis Elbow (lateral elbow pain)
  • Vascular Dementia

* Positive results from some studies on the efficacy of acupuncture may be as a result of poorly designed studies or publication bias.