“In conclusion, we found acupuncture to be superior to both no-acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain.”
Acupuncture Provides True Pain Relief in Study – NYTimes.com.
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain, Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis
- True acupuncture outperformed sham acupuncture and no-acupuncture controls in the treatment of chronic:
- back pain
- neck pain
- shoulder pain.
- In studying 29 randomized controlled trials of roughly 1800 patients, researchers concluded that the pain relief found from acupuncture treatment is more than just placebo effect.
- “Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option.”
Not all acupuncture is the same
Most people don’t know there are many different types of acupuncture: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Japanese, Korean, 5-Element, Classical, trigger point and more. The technique between these practices can be very, very different. Differences may include:
- Number of needles: Typically a practitioner will use no more than 8 in a treatment on the conservative end to over 30 in a single session.
- Size of needles: On the finer end, a practitioner might use a needle .16mm in width, going up to about .30mm (still about a third the width of a sewing needle).
- Needle retention: Needles can be left in for only a matter of seconds, or up to 45 minutes or longer.
- Needle placement/location: Some practices will have preferences for distal points, local points, hands-only points, ear-only points, etc. Needle placement doesn’t have to be the same for two practitioners to both get great results from treatment.
- Qi response: Some practitioners will want a strong “qi response” (think: zinger!) while others will just watch for changes in your breathing.
So, if you think you’ve tried acupuncture, I’d encourage you to consider the breadth of the practice. Don’t give up until you find the right match for you and your condition!