In research reported in Spa Opportunities, Professor Marc Cohen from RMIT University in Melbourne commented on a study he led into the use of acupuncture for treating acute pain with promising results.
While this may come as no surprise to devotees of acupuncture, what Cohen sought to ascertain was whether the practice could be used for pain management in hospitals as well as in community settings.
Randomised tests on 528 patients with varying degrees of lack pain, migraines, and ankle sprains took part in the study, all registering pain of at least four on a 10 point scale. Groups of patients than tried acupuncture alone, acupuncture with pharmacotherapy and pharmacotherapy alone (use of drugs).
While the immediate change in pain relief was not high, the majority of patients reported manageable pain levels within 48 hours and 82.8% of acupuncture-only patients said they would repeat the therapy compared to 80.8% in the combined group and 78.2% in the pharmacotherapy-only group.
Cohen says that the study highlights acupuncture as viable pain relief, but beyond that points to a wider ethos that we can take from the spa environment. He told Spa Opportunities: “[with acupuncture] you’re not applying a drug, you’re just manipulating the body’s own healing mechanisms. The study speaks to the integration of ancient and modern technology – which is often what we do in spas. They’re not incompatible.”
Cohen’s study supports ongoing evidence that acupuncture can be used to help treat and manage pain, particularly when it comes to chronic conditions. Even the Harvard Health blog from Harvard Medical School has noted its efficacy looking at 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants where ‘acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%’.
The article quotes Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anaesthesiologist: “I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication.”
Under the caveat that anyone with severe pain seeks proper medical advice first, the resounding conclusion? Acupuncture is ‘worth a try’.
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