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TCM acupuncture for dysmenorrhea period pain

Armour, M. (2015). The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea : a mixed methods study.

TCM acupuncture, irrespective of treatment timing, provided significant clinical benefits for women with primary dysmenorrhea, with reductions in pain severity, duration, secondary menstrual symptoms and analgesic intake.


Mike Armour, etl July 12 2017. The role of treatment timing and mode of stimulation in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea with acupuncture: An exploratory randomised controlled trial.

Conclusion of this research: acupuncture treatment reduced menstrual pain intensity and duration after three months of treatment and this was sustained for up to one year after trial entry. The effect of changing mode of stimulation or frequency of treatment on menstrual pain was not significant. This may be due to a lack of power. The role of acupuncture stimulation on menstrual pain needs to be investigated in appropriately powered randomised controlled trials.


V. Iorno,etl. Acupuncture Treatment of Dysmenorrhea Resistant to Conventional Medical Treatment. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2008 Jun; 5(2): 227–230.

Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Smith CA, etl.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Apr 18;

Due to the large volume of low-quality studies, this Cochrane review found there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate whether or not acupuncture or acupressure are effective in treating primary dysmenorrhoea,

Acupuncture for Pain Research

Adenosine A1 receptors mediate local anti-nociceptive effects of acupuncture

Nanna Goldman, Michael Chen, Takumi Fujita, Qiwu Xu, Weiguo Peng, Wei Liu, Tina K Jensen, Yong Pei, Fushun Wang, Xiaoning Han, Jiang-Fan Chen, Jurgen Schnermann, Takahiro Takano, Lane Bekar, Kim Tieu & Maiken Nedergaard

Nature Neuroscience 13, 883–888 (2010) doi:10.1038/nn.2562 2010 Published online 30 May 2010


Acupuncture is an invasive procedure commonly used to relieve pain. Acupuncture is practiced worldwide, despite difficulties in reconciling its principles with evidence-based medicine. We found that adenosine, a neuromodulator with anti-nociceptive properties, was released during acupuncture in mice and that its anti-nociceptive actions required adenosine A1 receptor expression. Direct injection of an adenosine A1 receptor agonist replicated the analgesic effect of acupuncture. Inhibition of enzymes involved in adenosine degradation potentiated the acupuncture-elicited increase in adenosine, as well as its anti-nociceptive effect. These observations indicate that adenosine mediates the effects of acupuncture and that interfering with adenosine metabolism may prolong the clinical benefit of acupuncture.

Electro-acupuncture shows promise for knee arthritis

electro-acupuncture on knee

A modern twist on traditional acupuncture may bring some pain relief to people with knee arthritis, at least in the short term, a small study suggests

The study, published in the journal Pain, looked at the effects of electro-acupuncture among 40 adults with knee osteoarthritis — the common “wear-and-tear” form of arthritis in which the cartilage cushioning the joints breaks down.Electro-acupuncture is similar to traditional acupuncture, where fine needles are inserted into specific points in the skin. What’s different is that the practitioner fits the needles with clips that are attached to a small device that delivers a continuous electrical impulse to stimulate the acupuncture point.

Among the patients in the current study, those who had a daily electro-acupuncture session for 10 consecutive days reported greater improvement in their pain compared with patients who received a “sham” version of the therapy.

Patients in that latter group received acupuncture, but the needles were inserted at random points on the skin rather than traditional acupuncture sites. And while the needles were attached to the electrical device, it was not actually turned on.

The findings suggest that true electro-acupuncture may offer at least short-term pain relief to knee arthritis sufferers, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Sadia Ahsin of the Army Medical College Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. According to traditional medicine, specific acupuncture points on the skin are connected to internal pathways that conduct energy, or qi (“chee”), and stimulating these points with a fine needle promotes the healthy flow of qi.

Modern research has suggested that acupuncture may help ease pain by altering signals among nerve cells or affecting the release of various chemicals of the central nervous system, such as pain-killing endorphins.

In their study, Ahsin and colleagues found that electro-acupuncture appeared to raise patients’ blood levels of endorphins and lower their levels of the hormone cortisol, which tends to rise during physical or mental stress. So it’s possible that these changes explain the greater pain relief, according to the researchers.

Larger, longer-term studies are still needed to see whether electro-acupuncture can have lasting benefits — and to find out how often patients would need treatment to gain those benefits.

For now, Ahsin’s team writes, the current findings suggest that, for people who are interested in trying it, electro-acupuncture can be added to conventional treatment for knee arthritis.

Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture are generally regarded as low-risk therapies. Among patients in this study, there were no major side effects apart from bruising at the needle site in three patients, the researchers note.

SOURCE: Pain, online December 15, 2009.