Millions of people around the world use acupuncture to help with general soreness, but new research has indicated that it could also benefit those who suffer from severe medical conditions, particularly fibromyalgia.
According to Fox News, a recent study in Spain has found that individualized acupuncture treatments are associated with greater pain relief for people with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic widespread discomfort and pain.
Individualized acupuncture, also referred to as tailored acupuncture, involves the use of traditional Chinese techniques targeting underlying issues such as “liver Qi stagnation” and “Yi deficiency.”
For this study, researchers compared the effects of tailored acupuncture with standard acupuncture, also referred to as “sham” acupuncture by the authors. Sham acupuncture is essentially a “placebo” treatment that involves the random placement of needles to serve as a control in the study.
The study included 164 adults with fibromyalgia who were divided into two groups. Half of the participants received tailored acupuncture for nine weeks, while the other half received sham treatments for the same amount of time.
The researchers interviewed each participant both before and after the study to see how their pain has changed. As it turns out, people suffering from fibromyalgia and other related diseases respond much better to tailored acupuncture that involves these traditional Chinese techniques.
“In…our pain clinic, we give individualized acupuncture not only for fibromyalgia patients, but also for any patient with different pathologies, and we can see the difference in the result with patients in which standard acupuncture is practiced,” said Dr. Jorge Vas, one of the study’s lead authors.
Approximately three million Americans have tried acupuncture at some point in their lives, though most of these people seek relief from general bodily discomfort. For those suffering from fibromyalgia, these new findings could steer them towards a more specific form of treatment that provides long-term pain relief.
According to the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses, acupuncture is one of the leading forms of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to emerge as a viable treatment option for those who suffer from chronic medical conditions.
As the result of several studies similar to the one performed in Spain, the medical community generally accepts that tailored acupuncture can aid in relief from chronic pain, headaches, and nausea/vomiting.
In this most recent study, researchers found that those who received tailored acupuncture reported a 41% decease in pain intensity. Participants who received sham acupuncture only experienced a 27% decrease in pain intensity, signifying a stark contrast between the two treatments.
While these are just preliminary findings, Vas and his team of researchers hope that it will eventually translate into long-term solutions for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.