Benefits of Traditional Acupuncture

Attending frequently with medically unexplained symptoms is distressing for both patient and doctor and effective treatment or management options are limited.

A research team from the Institute of Health Services Research, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, have carried out a randomised control trial and a linked interview study regarding 80 patients to investigate their experiences of having acupuncture added to their usual care. The results reveal that acupuncture had a significant and sustained benefit for these patients and consequently acupuncture could be safely added to the therapies used by partitioners.

The patient group was made up of 80 adults, 80% female with an average age of 50 years from a variety of ethnic backgrounds who had consulted their GP as least 8 times in the past year. Nearly 60% reported musculoskeletal health problems, of almost two-thirds had been present for a year. The patients were randomly divided into an acupuncture group and a control group. Eight acupuncturists administered individuals five-element acupuncture to the acupuncture group immediately, up to 12 sessions over 26 weeks. The same number of treatments were made available to the control group after the 26 weeks. At 26 weeks the patients were asked to complete a number of questionnaires including the individualised health status questionnaire “Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile”. The acupuncture group registered a significantly improved overall score when compared with the control group. They also recorded improved well being.

This element identified that the participating patients had a variety of longstanding symptoms and disability including chronic pain, fatigue and emotional problems which affected their ability to work, socialise and carry out everyday tasks. Participating patients reported that their acupuncture consultations become increasingly valuable. They appreciated the amount of time they had with each acupuncturist and the interactive and holistic nature of the sessions– there was a sense that the practitioners were listening to their concerns and via therapy, doing something positive about them.

As a result, many patients were encouraged to take an active role in their treatment, resulting in cognitive and behavioural lifestyle changes, such as; a new self awareness about what caused stress in their lives and a subsequent ability to deal with stress more effectively and taking on their own initiatives based on advice from the acupuncturists about diet, exercise, relaxation and social activities. 

Share This: