Meta Analyses and Systematic Reviews

The final section of our archives, has gathered Meta-analyses and Systematic Reviews relating to Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine used with fertility patients (mostly IVF) and for conditions related to reproductive health. A systematic review collects and summarises evidence and a meta-analysis applies statistical methods to summarise the results of these studies. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis are considered to be the highest quality evidence because their strict inclusion criteria can reduce bias and produce more reliable findings. Each Meta analysis typically analyses pooled data collected from thousands of women.

Most of the early research that was published in English language medical journals concerned the treatment of IVF patients with acupuncture administered on the day of Embryo Transfer. The randomised controlled trials (RCTs) collected for analysis started back as far as 2002 and by 2008 a Meta-analysis of 7 eligible RCTs  was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal. This first meta-analysis generated a lot of excitement among IVF clinicians and their patients and encouraged more research to follow.

While all the meta-analyses listed here include only eligible RCTs chosen with strict inclusion criteria, the heterogeneity and risk of bias in some trials has lead many authors to suggest that more RCTs are required before any specific recommendations are made to patients regarding treatment.

Another important proviso we must add here, is that many trials did not administer the optimal number of acupuncture treatments and few used acupuncture as it used traditionally (ie highly individualised treatments).

To comply with AHPRA advertising guidelines we have removed the plain English summaries of the findings of these Meta-analyses and all abstracts and PDFs. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any information about any of these publications.

Here is a summary list of meta analyses published over the last 12 years…….

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Acupuncture and Pregnancy

Most of the trials examining the effect of acupuncture in pregnancy have focused on its action during and before labour, measuring labour pain and duration, as well initiation of labour when it is overdue.

A couple of trials have looked at how effective Chinese medicine is in turning breech babies, and 2 journals have reported on acupuncture’s use in treating pelvic and back pain.

There is one report here on the effect of acupuncture on pregnancy nausea and vomiting, and one on its effect on depression in pregnancy. Research is ongoing in this area.

Please contact us if you would like to see any of our summaries or abstracts of these papers, or any further information on acupuncture and pregnancy.

ACUPUNCTURE, HERBS AND ENDOMETRIOSIS:

To date there is not a lot of research published on the treatment of endometriosis with Chinese medicine that meets the standard required for us to draw firm conclusions on efficacy. Two reviews have analysed findings from trials that evaluated acupuncture effect on endometriosis pain, recurrence rates and pregnancy rates, and other randomised controlled trials have examined the use of chinese medicine to prevent recurrence and to improve pregnancy rates after surgery. A large review has analysed the effect of acupuncture on dysmenorrhoea and is included in this section since pelvic pain from any source is considered to represent a blockage and must be addressed in a Chinese medicine fertility  consultation.

To comply with AHPRA advertising guidelines we have removed the plain english summaries, abstracts and PDFs of these trials. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any information about any research papers listed here.

ACUPUNCTURE and SPERM

There have been a number of randomised controlled trials and pilot studies that have looked at the effect of acupuncture or electro stimulation of acupuncture points, on sperm quality in men with low counts, poor motility and morphology or a varicocele, many showing early indications of benefit. However because these trials all had different methodology and measured different outcomes, it is difficult to pool results in a meta-analysis and therefore it is also difficult to make recommendations for clinical practice at this stage.

To comply with AHPRA advertising guidelines we have removed the summaries, abstracts and PDFs of these trials. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any information about any research papers listed here.