Acupuncture – The Evidence Base

By Tim Wright at Gower Acupuncture (Swansea)

Close-up Of Acupuncture Needles On Man's Ear

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been used for over 1000 years to cure numerous ills and alleviate many pains. Despite its illustrious history it tends to be most well-known in mainstream medicine for primarily treating pain, nausea and headaches.  I’ve personally treated numerous other illnesses and symptoms,  so I thought I would have a little look at what recent clinical trials have been conducted into its efficacy:

Acupuncture and Hay Fever
Acupuncture has been used to treat hay fever for decades. Its efficacy is believed to stem from its ability to modulate an over-active immune system. A recent systematic review in 2015 of past research looked at 13 trials on 2365 patients. It concluded that acupuncture significantly improved both nasal symptoms and quality of life.

Battlefield Acupuncture For Sore Throat
Battlefield acupuncture was pioneered by NATO Forces as pain relief for injured soldiers. It involves placing a number of needles in the ears of wounded soldiers. It has been widely used in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Its advantage being it is quick, effective and easy to take a few needles on to the battlefield. Interestingly, it seems like the military may now be extending its remit. A recent US Air Force study has shown that this form of ear acupuncture can also reduce the severity and length of sore throats.

Acupuncture For Depression
The university of York did a very interesting study into the efficacy of acupuncture versus normal care for depression in 2013. Patients who received acupuncture and normal treatment significantly reduced their depression scores after 3 months of treatment compared with those patients who received normal treatment alone.

Hot Flushes Post Breast Cancer
In 2015 The Perelman School of Medicine at the University Of Pennsylvania trialed the efficacy of acupuncture versus Gabapentin (a pain killer) to control hot flushes. Participants were split into 4 groups; acupuncture, sham acupuncture (a type of placebo where the needle doesn’t enter the skin), Gabapentin or placebo (a sugar pill). The acupuncture group showed the greatest improvement with the placebo placing last.  Interestingly the sham acupuncture group showed greater improvement than Gabapentin.

Tim Wright is a Member of The British Acupuncture Council and is a fully licensed practitioner, currently practicing out of busy clinics in Swansea and Mumbles. His particular interests are pain management and emotional imbalances such as stress and anxiety. Tim believes that one of acupuncture’s greatest strengths is the promotion of homeostasis in the body, making it effective for a wide variety of illnesses.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Tim on 07764 254881 or email:


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