Summer Newsletter - July 2011

Upcoming Events

CAHCIM's One-Day Research Symposium in Integrative Medicine and Health (October 26, 2011, Los Angeles, CA)
The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) announces its inaugural One-Day Research Symposium in Integrative Medicine and Health. The symposium will be held in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. CAHCIM's goal is to facilitate a gathering where researchers from a variety of disciplines, at all levels of training, will be able to share their work and connect. READ MORE:  Special attention will be given to research from early-career scientists, students, trainees and fellows. The Symposium will be a peer-reviewed scientific meeting with oral and poster sessions. Josephine Briggs, MD, Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will provide the keynote address. To register and submit your proposal please visit . For questions, contact CAHCIM at

4th Annual International Scientific Acupuncture and Meridian Symposium (Irvine, CA; Oct. 7-9, 2011)
The 4th Annual International Scientific Acupuncture and Meridian Symposium is scheduled to be held at the Beckman Center at the University of California Irvine, October 7-9, 2011. The event is sponsored by Korean Pharmacopuncture Institute and University of California Irvine, Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine.  The three day conference will have several themes all devoted to the science of acupuncture and Oriental herbal supplements. The focus of the conference will be on neural mechanisms that underlie acupuncture’s actions in treatment of cardiovascular disease, pain and other clinical areas for which it is applied. READ MORE...A major goal of the conference is to bring together authorities from around the world to provide an overview of the latest research in the science of traditional Oriental medicine. Keynote speakers include, Dr. Peng Li and Dr. Ji Sheng Han who will be sharing reflections on 50 years of acupuncture research and Dr. Benedetti speaking on the placebo action of acupuncture.  The event is designed for acupuncturists, researchers, herbalists, naturopaths, nurses, doctors and students to learn more about the latest basic and clinical research studies for this very ancient therapy. Continuing education credits will be available for all categories of professionals, including physicians, acupuncturists, nurses and physical therapists, among others.  Call for Abstracts: Submission deadline August 15th, 2011.  For details, including registration, speakers and abstract submission, visit:

2012 North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine (May 15-18, 2012, Portland, Oregon)
The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine announced its 2012 North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine (May 15-18, 2012, Portland, Oregon). The conference theme is: "Strengthening Research in Integrative Healthcare around the World," and the conference promotes itself as "the most comprehensive scientific conference in complementary and integrative medicine." The research abstract submission deadline is Nov 15, 2011, and early registration discount ends March 16, 2012. For further detail, visit

Time, Attention, and Reassuring Touch
Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, Director of NIH NCCAM, noted the following in a recent public message: "The most common health problem for which people turn to complementary and alternative approaches is chronic pain. Pharmacological management of chronic pain, while important, has hazards. Evidence is showing, based on carefully controlled studies, that there is promise in certain complementary treatments as adjuncts to conventional pain management. For example, the pain of osteoarthritis may be relieved by acupuncture; tai chi has been found to be helpful in reducing the pain of fibromyalgia; and massage and manipulative therapies can contribute to the relief of chronic back pain."

The goal of NCCAM's research is to ensure the development of a strong, objective evidence base that offers patients, providers, and health policymakers with the information they need to make informed decisions. This knowledge is vital, given the widespread and frequent self-care use of complementary and alternative medicine. As Freedman describes, the benefits being observed with complementary and alternative therapies may yield important lessons for our health care system: the time, attention, and reassuring touch traditionally provided by caring health care providers is in short supply and is a highly important commodity. [Source:]

Position Statement on Trigger Point Dry Needling
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) recently publicized its position statement on Trigger Point Dry Needling, and invited various nationwide organizations to consider taking a position on it. The rationale of the statement reads "A recent trend in the expansion in the scopes of practice of western trained health professionals to include "dry needling" has resulted in redefining acupuncture and re-framing acupuncture techniques in western biomedical language." And "proponents of "dry needling" by non-acupuncture professionals are attempting to expand trigger point dry needling to any systemic treatment using acupuncture needles and whole body treatment that includes dry needling by using western anatomical nomenclature to describe these techniques. It is the position of the CCAOM that these treatment techniques are the de facto practice of acupuncture, not just the adoption of a technique of treatment."

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine also announced its position statement on Trigger Point Dry Needling and Intramuscular Manual Therapy. In the statement, the AAAOM shared the following additional specific concerns: 1) No standards of education have been validly determined to assure that Physical Therapists (PT) using TDN are providing the public with a safe and effective product; 2) There is a clear effort to redefine identical medical procedures and thereby circumvent or obscure established rules and regulations regarding practice; and 3) In many states, addition of TDN to PT practice is a scope expansion that should require legislative process, not a determination by a PT Board. Conclusively, it strongly urges legislators, regulators, advisory boards, advocates of public safety, and medical professional associations to carefully consider the impact of these actions.


NCCAM Clinical Digest
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed the NCCAM Clinical Digest to provide both patients and health care providers with evidence-based information on CAM, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCAM-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more. The June 2011 issue focused on fibromyalgia and CAM, and the July issue focused on low back pain and CAM. You can subscribe to this monthly newsletter and access the content information by visiting NCCAM's website: The content is designed to be "evergreen" and will remain accessible on both NCCAM and SAR's websites for the next year.

[Source: NCCAM/NIH]

Side Effects of Tamoxifen and Acupuncture
In a single arm, observational study, fifty participants with early breast cancer received eight traditional acupuncture treatments from one acupuncturist to manage side effects from Tamoxifen. Traditional acupuncture is an integration of Eight-principles and Five Element style acupuncture. Participants reported hot flashes and night sweats were significantly reduced. At the end of treatment compared to baseline, there was a 49.8% reduction in the mean frequency of symptoms (95% CI 40.5 - 56.5, p<0.0001, n=48). De Valois et al also reported a 2.2-point reduction in the participants' perceptions of hot flashes and night sweats as problematic (SD = 2.15, n=48, t=7.16, p<0.0001) at the end of treatment. In following up 18 weeks after end of treatment, there was still a 41.8% reduction in mean frequency of hot flashes and night sweats (95% CI 29.1 - 49.5, p<0.0001, n=47).

[Source: De Valois BA, Young TE, Robinson N, McCourt C, Maher EJ. Using traditional acupuncture for breast cancer-related hot flashes and night sweats. J Altern Complement Med. 2010. 16(10):1047-57. ]

Unique Considerations in Fertility Treatment
To help inform future research on fertility acupuncture, Cochrane et al analyzed responses from ten fertility acupuncturists to define how best to treat fertility. The researchers used a complex consensus-building technique in this qualitative study that spanned two phases. Three acupuncturists were intensely interviewed in phase one to generate enough material to guide a forum in the second phase. Seven more acupuncturists were recruited, and during second phase, all ten participants discussed the themes and responses from the first phase and then a questionnaire was developed and distributed. Participants were asked to rank statements according to relevance. The participants felt the following to be highly relevant: acupuncture should not be limited to needling but include more aspects of TCM like diet, therapeutic relationship, etc. (7 of 10). When asked "Fertility acupuncture should be a specialist endeavor requiring . . .," the participants felt it highly relevant that fertility acupuncturists should have knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) gynecology (9 of 10), and knowledge of ART procedures (8 of 10) and reproductive endocrinology and physiology (7 of 10), as well as capable of engaging the patient-practitioner relationship (7 of 10). Additionally, participants felt the TCM pattern (6 of 10), state of the Shen (5 of 10) and the timing of treatment (4 of 10) as highly relevant in guiding treatment. Biomedical diagnosis (6 of 10) and menstrual cycle phases (6 of 10) were rated as relevant in guiding treatment.

[Source: Cochrane S, Smith CA, Possamai-Inessedy A. Development of a fertility acupuncture protocol: defining acupuncture treatment protocol to support and treat women experiencing conception delays. J Altern Complement Med. 2011. 17(4):329-337. ]

Acupuncture Sensation during Ultrasound Guided Acupuncture Needling
Although acupuncture sensation (also known as de qi) is a cornerstone of traditional acupuncture therapy, most research has accepted the traditional method of defining acupuncture sensation only through subjective patient reports rather than on any quantifiable physiological basis. A recent study investigating correlation between needle sensation and the depth and needle manipulation using ultrasound scan reported that the frequency of pricking, sharp sensations was significantly greater in shallower tissue levels (TLs) than deeper (p=0.007); the frequency of sensations described as deep, dull and heavy, as spreading, and as electric shocks was significantly greater in deeper TLs than shallower (p=0.002). Sensations experienced did not significantly differ between real and control points within each of three TLs (p>0.05) except TL 4 (p=0.006). The introduction of needle rotation significantly increased deep, dull, heavy sensations, but not pricking and sharp sensations; within each level, the spectrum of sensation experienced during both oscillation + rotation and oscillation alone did not significantly differ between acupuncture and control points.

[Source: Park JJ, Akazawa M, Ahn J, Beckman-Harned S, Lin FC, Lee K, Fine J, Davis RT, Langevin H. Acupuncture sensation during ultrasound guided acupuncture needling. Acupunct Med. 2011 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print]


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