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Acupuncture can help relieving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A new Japanese study published online on May 14, 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that acupuncture may help relieving dyspnoea (shortness of breath) on exertion in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


65 out of 68 patients completed the study. They were divided into two groups; one was treated with real acupuncture (RA) and the other with sham acupuncture (SA). The sham acupuncture was used to measure any placebo effect. The exertion test was a distance measured 6-minute walk test.


After 12 weeks the RA group reported significant improvement in their symptoms compared with the SA group. The RA group also had better oxygen during the test, covered longer distances in the 6 minute test and had better ‘quality of life’ scores. Additionally the RA group had significant improvement in breathing function, breathing muscle strength and nutritional status compared with the SA group.


As you can see the benefits of acupuncture to people with COPD can be quite significant.


Comments and criticism vary from different part of the medical community. Whereas the study was randomised and placebo-controlled the main criticism of the study method is that the therapist knew whether or not treatment was administered (single blind). However, this is always the difficulty when testing a physical intervention rather than distributing medication.


For know this is an encouraging study into the potential benefits of acupuncture in COPD patients. So if you know anyone suffering from this debilitating disease it may be worthwhile giving us a call.


Written by Jan Olsen, Chiropractor


Reference: Arch Intern Med. Published online May 14, 2012.


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