Acupuncture

acupuncture

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & often is prescribed in combination with Chinese Dietary Therapy, Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese Exercise therapy (QiGong).

Chinese Medicine is a coherent, complete, closed medical system, including its specific human physiology, pathology, disease terminology, methods of diagnosing and therapeutic methods. Acupuncture is the insertion of thin needles into the skin.

A typical session entails lying still while approximately five to twenty needles are inserted; for the majority of cases, the needles will be left in place for ten to twenty minutes. It can be associated with the application of heat, pressure, or laser light. Acupuncture is most commonly used for pain relief, though it is also used to treat a wide range of conditions. The majority of people who seek out acupuncture do so for musculoskeletal problems, including low back pain, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain.

Not all Acupuncturists are considered equal

Acupuncture is not Junk Science as some doctors claim but I have to agree that some courses that students complete can be junk. The problem with the industry in certain places is not the lack of evidence that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines don't work, but the lack of regulation in both the education sector and the industry resulting in the difference in qualifications of your homeopath, acupuncturist, naturopath or nutritionist being a vast chasm. In order to successfully integrate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) into main-stream healthcare the basis of training of CAM practitioners needs to be equivalent to university degree programmes offered currently to mainstream health professionals. In Australia is absolutely is. The Acupuncture degree I completed, indeed the 3 degrees I completed, were all 4 year full-time Bachelor of Health science degrees with contact hours equalling 24 hours per week or 96 hours per month. Compare this with many Irish/UK naturopathy courses that are 3 year part-time courses equating to 14 contact hours per month only; There is simply no comparison. An acupuncturist with a science degree as a firm understanding of medical pathology and pharmacology.

Australia is at the forefront of natural medicine training, having offered degree programmes for 20 years. The industry is well-regulated with Acupuncturists fulfilling strict entry criteria can register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) the national registration body that develops a nationally consistent approach to auditing health practitioners including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Common registration standards include criminal history checks, ensure English language skills are met and ensures all it's members meet continuing professional development requirements. Registration standards are regularly reviewed.

World Health Organisation stance on Acupuncture

In June 1979 the World Health Organisation conducted a symposium on acupuncture in Bejing, China. Doctors who participated in this symposium created a list of 43 diseases that might benefit from acupuncture. This list however was not based on well design clinical trials with appropriate control. The need for performing such studies was mentioned. Almost twenty years later, in 1997, National Institutes of Health published Consensus Statement, summarising the state of knowledge drawn from clinical trial concerning acupuncture efficacy. The Authors concluded that there were “promising results showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain” In other conditions, mostly various kinds of pain, acupuncture “might be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative”

One year before publication of statement mentioned above, the meeting of scientists, called WHO Consultation on Acupuncture, was organised in beautiful Italian town of Cervia. That meeting resulted in creation of official report on the effectiveness of acupuncture based on data from controlled clinical trials. The report was finally published in 2003. The results of 255 trials published before the end of 1998 or beginning of 1999 were included.

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved – through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Insomnia
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein–Leventhal syndrome)
  • Postextubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

  • Chloasma
  • Choroidopathy, central serous
  • Colour blindness
  • Deafness
  • Hypophrenia
  • Irritable colon syndrome
  • Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
  • Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
  • Small airway obstruction

Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:

  • Breathlessness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Coma
  • Convulsions in infants
  • Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
  • Diarrhoea in infants and young children
  • Encephalitis, viral, in children, late stage
  • Paralysis, progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar

For further details on this topic, to lecture for your group or institution on this subject. or to arrange an online appointment contact Carina This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.

Cert IV TAE. ARCHTI mem.