Acupuncture Specifics: Evidence

If you are curious about levels of evidence for Chinese Medicine (fair enough, it sounds like its probably ‘unscientific’) you can type the words ‘Acupuncture’ and ‘Chinese Medicine’ into medical databases, such as the British Medical Journal, BioMed Central, PubMed, the Cochrane review, and a host of other specific sites. What you will get back is an enormous volume of nearly 25 000 clinical trials. This is more evidence than any other singular profession, in fact more than most others put together!! Some of these will be on mechanism of action, as well as numerous disease specific trials. The ones I’ve listed below are specific to relevant conditions or areas of interest. It is not by any means a comprehensive list.

New trials are being constantly added to the Facebook page: click like and feel welcome to scroll through previous posts for more information.

  • Acupuncture has been proven to increase energy, reduce physical and mental symptoms (including exhaustion, weakness, poor memory, depression and concentration) for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  • Acupuncture demonstrated significant efficiency in the treatment of chronic, non responding anxiety (against CBT, Medications and counselling)
  • Acupuncture causes a ‘significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term, and is not associated with serious adverse events’
  • Treatment for depression and co morbid pain – Acupuncture performs better than counselling and standard care.
  • Acupuncture benefits brain chemistry and regulates gene expression in depression by modifying and regulating key neurotransmitters and steroid transmitters vital for the functioning of the nervous system.
  • Acupuncture affects the brain differently and balances cerebellum activation in insomnia patients
  • Acupuncture treatment is shown to significantly improve various aspects of sleep disturbance.
  • Acupuncture performs equal and in some cases better than counselling in comparison to standard care for anxiety and depression, and was associated with few and mild side effects.
  • Acupuncture modulates the limbic system and sub cortical grey structures of the brain.
  • Reduction of glucocorticoid, specifically cortisol hormone production
  • Brain imaging studies and neuro chemical tracing studies demonstrate down modulation (reduction) of the autonomic nervous system and the adrenal axis, and recalibration of the central nervous system, both of which are mechanisms assisting in re-establishing homeostasis of the nervous system.
  • Modulation of the nodal (hypothalamus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex) and central and autonomic network dysfunction, and the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis
  • Acupuncture is significantly effective in improving cognition and memory via protecting against oxidative damage, improving and up regulating anti oxidants, glucose transporters, and down regulating nitric oxide. Overall this reflects an improvement in cerebral blood flow and cerebral glucose metabolism.