ACUPUNCTURE AND BLOOD FLOW; Changes of Local Blood Flow in Response to Acupuncture Stimulation: A Systematic Review

Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Song-Yi Kim etal, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 9874207

doi: 10.1155/2016/9874207

This systemic review collected randomised control trials done on human subjects, that fitted strict inclusion criteria.

Of 8 RCTs, 7 indicated significant increases in microcirculation after acupuncture treatment.

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Acupuncture versus antidepressants in the management of postpartum depression: A systematic review

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ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS AND ENDOMETRIOSIS: Controlling the Recurrence of Pelvic Endometriosis after A Conservative Operation: Comparison between Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Medicine

Zhao RH et al, Chin J Integr Med 2013 Nov;19(11):820-825

Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine

A randomised and controlled trial (involving 200 women) studied the prevention of recurrence of endometriosis after surgery and showed that Chinese medicine was as effective a therapy as western pharmaceuticals in preventing recurrence but had significantly fewer side effects. Chinese medicine achieved a higher conception rate in women who had previously been infertile.

 

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Effectiveness of Acupuncture on Pregnancy Success Rates for Women Undergoing in Vitro Fertilization: A Randomized Controlled Trial

A randomly selected and controlled trial found that acupuncture improved pregnancy rates in women who had acupuncture before and on the day of embryo transfer compared to a similar group of women who did not have acupuncture. This trial did not use sham acupuncture as a control, but rather used “usual care” as a control. This trial also showed a reduced anxiety level in the women who had acupuncture.

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Relationship between psychological stress and reproductive outcome in women undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment: Psychological and neurohormonal assessment

Yuan An et al, . 2013 Jan; 30(1): 35–41

264 women undergoing IVF were tested periodically for cortisol and noradrenaline status. Additionally they completed assays to determine anxiety and depression. Lower levels of the stress hormones were found in women who were successful in conceiving and having a live birth. This is likely one of the mechanisms whereby acupuncture can help to improve IVF outcomes.

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Effects of acupuncture during in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: An updated systemic review and meta-analysis.

Xian Zhang et al, 2018, Eur Jnl Int Med,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2018.09.001

European Journal of Integrative Medicine.

The most recent meta analysis of outcomes for IVF patients concluded that those who had acupuncture during their cycle compared to those who had routine care, had a higher chance of having a live birth.

 

 

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Effect of acupuncture vs sham acupuncture on live births among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a randomized clinical trial

Caroline Smith et al, JAMA, 2018 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.5336

Journal of the American Medical Association.

 

848 women at 16 different IVF centres in Australia and New Zealand were given acupuncture (with real or sham needles)  by 80 different acupuncturists. A standardised protocol was delivered on Day 6 of the stimulation phase and another at some point before and after the embryo transfer. The data indicated that at this dose of acupuncture, and using these protocol points, there was no significant difference in live births between those who received the real or the sham needles.

The authors admit that ” the lack of frequent treatments was a limitation of our trial” since in real clinical practice acupuncture treatment is individualised with variation in dosing, including more frequent treatment prior to and during the IVF cycle.

They also noted that while a very short course of acupuncture may statistically be no better than sham at improving live birth and pregnancy outcomes, a psycho-social benefit from acupuncture was reported by women undergoing IVF.

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Acupuncture administered after spontaneous rupture of membranes at term significantly reduces the length of birth and use of oxytocin. A randomized controlled trial.

Gaudernack LC1, Forbord S, Hole E    ,  2006;85(11):1348-53.

Acta Obstetrica Gynecologica Scandinavia

Labour times were reduced in women who’s waters had broken if they had acupuncture. There was also significant reduction in the need for oxytocin infusion to augment labor if acupuncture was administered.

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The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for poor semen quality in infertile males: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ui Min Jerng et al

Asian J Androl. 2014 Nov-Dec; 16(6): 884–891

This review looks at a selected number of RCTs that examined the effect of acupuncture on sperm motility and count, but not morphology. From the 4 trials they examined, they report that motility and sperm concentration were significantly increased in the acupuncture groups (If trial designs are heterogeneous, as they were in this meta analysis, it makes it more difficult to draw firm conclusions at this stage).
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ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS AND MISCARRIAGE: Systematic Review of Chinese Medicine for Miscarriage during Early Pregnancy

Lu Li et al, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 753856
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

 

Chinese data bases were screened for published studies on the effect of chinese herbal medicine on threatened miscarriage. While more than 300,000 papers were found, the trials generally did not meet the clinical research standards that would be required in the west. That said, it is not always easy or ethical to carry out placebo controlled randomised trials with pregnant women who are worried about miscarrying. Meta-analysis of some of the clinical trials indicated that Chinese medicines alone or Chinese medicines combined with Western medicines were more effective than Western medicines alone to treat threatened miscarriage in relieving the clinical signs, including vaginal bleeding, low back pain, and abdominal pains.

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ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS AND PCOS: Autonomic nervous system activation mediates the increase in whole-body glucose uptake in response to electroacupuncture

Foundation of American Experimental Biology Journal

 

Applying just one session of low frequency electroacupuncture has been shown to reduce blood sugar in overweight women with PCOS. This adds to the mounting evidence we have that indicates that electroacupuncture is a valid and desirable treatment option for PCOS patients trying to improve their ovary function and fertility.

 

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Herbal Medicines for Treating Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Jang et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:5936402

Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

 

One of the main concerns with PCOS is elevated insulin levels and abdominal obesity.  A reduction in these is correlated with better ovary function in patients with PCOS.

This review examined the effect of Chinese herbs on such parameters and concluded that they were an effective treatment.

 

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