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Can acupuncture help Menieres?

A:  We publish a factsheet on vertigo which summarises the position for a number of conditions, and in it the authors refer to a study which seem well worth reading which provides a review of the evidence from western and eastern studies. We note this because it is often quite difficult to get hold of studies in Chinese, and even having got hold of them getting them translated is a major obstacle. There are literally thousands every year, of which only a fraction make it to western journals or into translation. The upshot of the
review is positive but cautious, as is often the case. Acupuncture treatment appears to help, but larger and more methodologically sound trials are needed.

As you can see from the number of conditions grouped under the general banner of vertigo, though, this is a great illustration of where the Chinese medicine perspective and western medicine perspective don't translate exactly. There are a number of clearly defined syndromes and organic disturbances as understood in Chinese medicine where the group of symptoms which they can cause could lead to one of several definitions in western medicine, so two people with the same diagnosis in Chinese medicine might be labelled as having vertigo, Meniere's, or labyrinthitis in the West. By the same token each of these conditions, whose symptoms are very similar. might
lead to an entirely different diagnosis in Chinese medicine. This is more likely, insofar as from a Chinese medicine perspective each patient is unique and different. Having the same symptom tells you very little; what you need is to establish how the loss of balance in the system as a whole led this symptom to appear in this person.

The best advice is to visit a BAcC member local to you and seek their opinion based on an face to face assessment. We are confident that treatment will be able to reduce the severity of your symptoms, and also perhaps make you better able to deal with the secondary problems of confidence and stress which often arise after a while. Our clinical experience is that there is usually an effect, but how much of an effect and how sustainable it may be are unknowns. We are always very keen to set regular
review periods when we treat people with any of the balance or inner ear problems to avoid a long term 'treatment habit' developing when the results are neither large or sustainable enough to warrant continuing. The practitioner can then discuss other possible options, based on an understanding in both eastern and western terms of what is going on.