Can acupuncture help you lose weight? A new study suggests it can.

A study conducted last year in Hong Kong suggests that acupuncture may have an effect on the body's ability to lose weight.  

"Director of the HKBU Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Study Centre Professor Bian Zhaoxing said that acupuncture has a stimulating effect. The mechanism of acupuncture may be that the stimulation to the serotonin and beta endorphin will suppress appetite and increase lipolysis activity, resulting in weight loss."

Read more about this study in Asian Scientist Magazine.

Acupuncture boosts effectiveness of standard medical care for chronic pain, depression

A team of scientists working in both the US and UK, after reviewing 29 high-quality clinical trials have confirmed that "there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect," particularly when treating chronic pain and depression.  You can read more here.

Ancient Chinese Medical Texts Found in Bian Que's Tomb

Bian Que, one China's earliest know physicians, apparently kept very good records.  So good in fact, that they have been found in a tomb in Tianhui completely intact.  Nine medical books (written on bamboo), 50 inscribed wooden tablets, and a figurine with major acupuncture points illustrated, along with many other relics were found in the tomb that dates back to approximately 260 BCE.  You can read more about this amazing find here and here

New drug for parasitic diseases comes from TCM herbs

CNN reported today that three scientists will share the Nobel prize for their work with parasitic diseases, specifically those caused by roundworms. 

"The disease was traditionally treated by chloroquine or quinine, but by the late 1960s, efforts to eradicate malaria had failed and the disease was on the rise, the assembly said.

So Tu turned to traditional herbal medicine to try to tackle the disease. Using the plant Artemisia annua, she discovered a purification procedure that rendered an active agent called Artemisinin, the Nobel Assembly said."

Interestingly, this "new" active agent, extracted from Artemisia Annua (known as qing hao) has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for malaria, high fevers, and bleeding.

Acupuncture is Beneficial for Hypertension

More good news in the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Science Daily reports that a recent study conducted by UC Irvine has showed that hypertensive patients benefit from acupuncture:

"Patients with hypertension treated with acupuncture experienced drops in their blood pressure that lasted up to a month and a half, researchers have found. This work is the first to scientifically confirm that this ancient Chinese practice is beneficial in treating mild to moderate hypertension, and it indicates that regular use could help people control their blood pressure and lessen their risk of stroke and heart disease."

You can find a link to the article at Science Daily here.

Should You Ice After an Injury?

The answer, at least from a TCM perspective, is no.  In TCM, icing is rarely, if ever, recommended.  When our bodies become very cold, blood vessels shrink in order to shunt blood flow from the extremities to our vital organs.  That's a good thing if you find yourself trying to survive in the wilderness, or in very cold water.  However, when you injure soft tissue, swelling actually protects that tissue from further injury - it's not a bad thing!  Swelling is a vital defense mechanism.  Cutting off circulation to injured tissue (by icing it) reduces blood flow and actually slows healing.  It's really counter-intuitive.     

It now appears that some athletic trainers are beginning to agree with what TCM has been saying for centuries.  Read the research here.  

Curious about cupping?

This article might help explain why cupping can be beneficial for a myriad of health issues.  I find that people are often put off by the bruising the cups leave behind, but quite honestly, practitioners of TCM are happy to see it!  It shows that the cups have done their work.  And, generally speaking, repeated cupping sessions tend to leave fewer bruises behind, as the stagnation that caused the bruising in the first place lessens over time.  

Exciting News About IVF and TCM

Researchers in Portland, OR have found that "Whole Systems TCM" used in conjunction with IVF improved success rates in both donor and non-donor births.  Additionally, the study showed that the miscarriage rates for women using IVF dropped while using concurrent "Whole Systems TCM." 

"Whole Systems TCM," according to the study, is defined as,

"...many different treatment modalities that fall under the TCM umbrella, including acupuncture, electro acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and Chinese medical massage, TCM based dietary and lifestyle recommendations, and if appropriate, Chinese herbal therapy, and nutritional supplements." 

You can find the study, in three parts, here, here, and here.

Acupuncture for Dermatological Disorders

More good news in the world of acupuncture!  A newly published study shows that acupuncture significantly improves symptoms in a number of dermatological disorders: 

"Acupuncture was used to treat atopic dermatitis, urticaria, pruritus, acne, chloasma, neurodermatitis, dermatitis herpetiformis, hyperhidrosis, human papillomavirus wart, breast inflammation, and facial elasticity. In 17 of 24 studies, acupuncture showed statistically significant improvements in outcome measurements compared with placebo acupuncture, alternative treatment options, and no intervention."

Read more about this study here.