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We're not entirely sure what you mean by 'modern acupuncture'? This can either mean western medical acupuncture of a kind used most often by doctors, or it can mean traditional acupuncture used in a way which is aimed at a specific condition rather than using it in a traditional way which sees named conditions as the manifestation of a deeper pattern of disharmony.



The research which has been done has used both types. We have summarised the information in a Review Paper to be found here but this is a fairly dense piece of information in comparison with our fact sheets which are a little easier to access. The summary of findings is encouraging but not conclusive. This is not a surprise to us, though; the format for running trials of acupuncture for asthma are not particularly sensitive to the way acupuncture is practised in everyday use. There is a long history of treating asthma-related conditions in Chinese medicine, and we hope that in time this is validated by research which meets the current western models of best practice.

The one factor which it is very important to bear in mind is that doctors are reluctant to encourage people to come off the long term medications which they are taking for asthma, especially steroids. We encourage our members to be careful only to talk in terms of reducing the medications over which patients can exercise some choice, the 'puffers' like salbutamol/ventolin.

Q. hello, my mother has recently been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia of an alzheimer type with parkinsons. She is prone to shakes, getting quite anxious over small changes to her routine , plus currently in a low mood. I am looking to see if something like acupuncture can provide her with some help. ...and then finding a practioner who is experienced in dealing with this type of condition with acupuncture. Can you help me out at all with some advice. Thanks!


A. This is a very difficult problem for which to give advice. It is highly unlikely, given the severity and number of the symptoms, that acupuncture will have a great deal of effect on your mother's physical deterioration.



There is little or no evidence that acupuncture has a well-documented effect on conditions such as these, and it would be irresponsible of us to create false expectations by suggesting so.


What we do hear very often, however, is that acupuncture treatment appears to help people to cope better with difficult conditions. Whether this is the treatment itself or the care and attention which our members give is disputed by detractors, but inside the profession we often hear reports back of people feeling 'better in themselves and better able to cope' so there may some benefit to your mother of this kind.


All of our members are equally well-qualified to deal with any person asking for their help, although it is fair to say that when dealing with progressive and deteriorating conditions it helps to have had some experience of working with similar cases. If you contact BAcC members local to you for advice we are sure that they will give you an honest assessment of whether they are equipped to deal with your mother's case and if they feel it is beyond their limits of competence to recommend someone who may be able to help.

While some studies


seemed to give encouraging results, the most recent systematic review of trials of acupuncture for dry eye syndrome are not very conclusive.


However, for a number of reasons, the structure of trials are not well suited to the daily practice of acupuncture. The symptoms which you are experiencing have been described in Chinese medical literature for hundreds of years, and treatment protocols to deal with them have been used for a similar length of time. Whether these are appropriate for your specific would be a judgement which would have to be made by a practitioner able to assess your overall diagnostic signs. The fact that you have had the condition for a long time may have a bearing on how easy it is to treat, however.


Your best course of action would be to consult one of our members local to you to obtain an assessment of whether they think acupuncture would be appropriate. If you did decide to have treatment we would recommend that clear outcomes and regular reviews of progress are essential.

Plumber Stephen Morris shares his thoughts on how acupuncture treatment helped his lower back pain

Q. I am 37 weeks + 5 days pregnant and hope to deliver vaginally. However, my baby is breech, with a nuchal cord (x1), and I am RH negative. I want to do moxibustion to try to get baby to flip, but am worried about the possibility of negative side effects, such as placenta abruption or possibly tightening the cord. I have already done one session of moxi (at home) thinking it was safe, but as I search deeper online, I find that some say not to do it if the mother is RH negative.

Any insight would be much appreciated,



A. Our advice to members is certainly that Rh negativity is one of a number of conditions where we would strongly advise that they do not use moxibustion to attempt to turn a baby in the breech position. There might also be some concerns about using moxibustion at such a late stage in the pregancy.



In any case such as this our advice to members is to be guided by the midwife or consultant obstetrician in charge of the case. If they are happy for you to continue to use moxibustion, then that would based on their own clinical judgment. If they came to us for advice, however, they would be told what we have told you, advice which was put together by an expert working group of members trained both as acupuncturists and midwives, that we would not recommend to use of moxibustion in this case.

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BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

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