I found this press release from the AHS very interesting. Any of you that have read my blog over the years know that I am a huge proponent of acupuncture and have had excellent results from my acupuncture treatment in the past. But... I had a totally different experience when going to a "sham" acupuncturist (i.e. a chiropractor with very little training) as opposed to a truly certified acupuncturist (trained in Chinese Medicine, licensed, etc.) I had absolutely no benefit whatsoever from initial treatments I had with a chiropractor who claimed to be "trained" in acupuncture. She told me the needles were only inserted less than 1/2"... and that they would "pop out" when it was time to remove them. I only learned later, from a real acupunturist, that this is bunk. When I found an acupuncturist who had years of training in Chinese Medicine and was licensed... the experience was VASTLY different and I had almost immediate results. My migraines never completely went away, but they lessened in intensity and frequency.
I'm hopeful that the study below is actually correct and people can get benefit from ANY type of acupuncture... but honestly, I'm skeptical. I certainly wanted to post it though and make sure the info gets out there.
If you're unsure what to look for when looking for a "licensed" "certified" acupuncturist... here is part of the bio of my acupuncturist Donna Huber.
"Donna Huber is a Diplomate of Acupuncture (Dipl.Ac.) and Diplomate of Chinese Herbal Medicine (Dipl.C.H.) certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM.org). She received her four-year Master of Science in Chinese Medicine in 2002 while living in Santa Fe, NM. Donna also completed a clinical internship in China at the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) in the state of Nebraska."
AMERICAN HEADACHE SOCIETY SUPPORTS THE USE OF ACUPUNCTURE IN MIGRAINE TREATMENT
Both Traditional Acupuncture and “Sham” Acupuncture Provide Relief
Mt. Royal, NJ (February 1, 2012) – When it comes to treating migraine, so-called “sham” acupuncture (where needles are inserted only to a superficial depth in the skin and not in specific sites) and traditional acupuncture where needles are inserted in specific sites, both are effective, according to the American Headache Society (AHS).
Citing publicity surrounding a recent Canadian study comparing the effectiveness of the two types of acupuncture, David W. Dodick, MD, AHS president, said both types of acupuncture, particularly when electrical stimulation is involved, may work to release endorphins that are important in controlling signals of pain and inflammation.
“How much of a benefit sham acupuncture can have on the release of these chemicals is unclear,” he said. “This suggests the benefits of treatment may not depend on the exact technique of acupuncture and needle positioning.”
There is ample evidence supporting the value of acupuncture in migraine treatment, Dr. Dodick noted, including four studies that compared acupuncture to standard migraine preventive medications. Acupuncture was found to be at least as effective and produced fewer side effects. Further, he noted that a randomized clinical trial study published in November comparing acupuncture to topiramate in chronic migraine prevention showed that acupuncture was more effective than topiramate. Topiramate is an anticonvulsant often used in epilepsy.
Dr. Dodick said that needle positioning may be less relevant than acupuncturists believe, and acupuncture should be offered to patients as part of their options for migraine management. “Further, the long-lasting effects of acupuncture, given that subjects continued to experience a reduction in migraine frequency two months after treatment, is also noteworthy and not a point to be ignored,” he said.
“Along with biofeedback training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and lifestyle changes, acupuncture provides some migraine sufferers with a safe, non-pharmacologic treatment choice, and one that can also be used during pregnancy,” Dr. Dodick said.
The AHS estimates that about 36 million Americans -- 18% of women and 6% of men -- suffer from migraine, more than have asthma or diabetes combined. Migraine is characterized by pulsating or throbbing headache pain which can be moderate to severe in intensity. Its severity can be extremely disabling for sufferers, painful enough to cause work loss and absence from activities with family and friends. Migraine costs the United States more than $20 billion each year. Costs are attributed to direct medical expenses (e.g. doctor visits, medications) and indirect expenses (e.g. missed work, lost productivity). (www.americanheadachesociety.org)