A 2017 study showed promising results for the use of acupuncture to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Results were published in the journal Medicine (Baltimore) under the title "Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson disease." The conventional treatment for Parkinson's disease involves the use of levodopa, a Western pharmaceutical drug. But long-term use of levodopa can create mild to serious complications.
Researchers performed a meta-analysis of multiple studies to discover if acupuncture alone, and/or acupuncture plus conventional treatment, could mitigate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Researchers scoured seven major medical databases to find high-quality studies. Of particular interest were studies on the use of acupuncture alone versus conventional treatment, and the use of acupuncture plus conventional treatment versus conventional treatment alone.
The most common acupuncture points utilized for treating patients with symptoms of Parkinson's disease included Liver 3, Gall Bladder 34 and Du 20. This combination addresses neurological conditions. Although many combinations of acupuncture points were under investigation, researchers recommend this particular trio of points for treatment.
After conducting their meta-analysis, the researchers concluded that acupuncture performed better than conventional treatment alone. Also, the combination of acupuncture plus conventional treatment produced outstanding results when compared to just conventional treatment.
Even more promising was the conclusion that acupuncture could provide relief for symptoms of early-stage PD, before the onset of drug therapy. In the initial stages, symptoms are usually mild and may be addressed through acupuncture. This is one potential way to delay the need for levodopa and avoid the possible complications of the drug.
Source: Lee, S.-H., & Lim, S. (2017). Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson disease: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(3), e5836. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000005836 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5279085/
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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.