by Chris Miller | Posted on 9/26/2012
In the Spring 2008 issue of the Spondylitis Association of America's news magazine, Spondylitis Plus, we examined the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis using oriental medicine, including acupuncture. The article was based on a presentation to the Morristown, New Jersey Educational Support Group by Dr. Henry McCann, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M., a former Fulbright Research Fellow to Japan, a doctoral degree candidate in Chinese medicine, President of the New Jersey State Acupuncture Examining Board and private practitioner in Madison, NJ. The article was written by current SAA Board Chair and Morristown Support Group Leader, Craig Gimbel, DDS.
According to the article and Dr. McCann, acupuncture focuses on "Qi"(pronounced "Chee"), which are various points of the body that regulate vital energy. Acupuncture uses very fine sterile needles that are placed shallow in the skin. These needles are meant to treat disease by, "rebalancing the Qi in the body's channels by interconnecting the nerves of the extremities to the central nervous system spinal cord."
"Chinese medicine has been continually remapping the Qi pathways of the body due to trial and error for the past 2,000 years. This stimulation in the extremities had profound regulatory effects on the internal organs of the body. The effects of the needles can be further stimulated by heat, and present-day electrical stimulation or low-level laser therapy."
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain
A meta-analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has concluded that, "Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option."
According to an article published on MedPage Today (www.medpagetoday.com), an invited commentary accompanying the meta-analysis by Andrew L. Avins, MD, of Kaiser-Permanente in Oakland, California, stated that the benefits of acupuncture appeared to be those associated with the placebo effect, "because the pain relief was so much greater when acupuncture was compared with usual care than when compared with the sham procedure."
"Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo," state the authors of the analysis, but go on to caution that "these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture."
References & Further Reading
About the writer: Chris Miller is the Director of Programs at the Spondylitis Association of America and is Managing Editor of SAA's news magazine, Spondylitis Plus. He has been at SAA for nine years.
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