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Acupuncture Relieves Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
"This study shows there is something real about acupuncture and its effects on fibromyalgia,” says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic anaesthesiologist and the study's lead investigator. "Our study was performed on patients with moderate to severe fibromyalgia. It's my speculation that if acupuncture works for these patients with recalcitrant fibromyalgia - where previous treatments had not provided satisfactory relief - it would likely work for many of the millions of fibromyalgia patients.”
The study, conducted by Mayo Clinic physicians specialising in pain management, included 50 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia for whom other symptom-relief treatments were ineffective. The patients were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture or simulated acupuncture and were not informed which treatment they received; these treatments were administered in six sessions over two to three weeks.
All patients were given questionnaires before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at one and seven months after treatment to determine the degree of symptoms they experienced and how the disease affected their daily lives.
Patients who received acupuncture experienced minimal side effects. Following treatments, symptoms of pain, fatigue and anxiety were most significantly improved in the patients given acupuncture. At seven months post-treatment, the patients' symptoms of pain, anxiety and fatigue had returned to baseline levels; the patients experienced the largest improvement at one month following treatment.
"We expected the acupuncture to improve the pain,” says Martin. "We didn't really expect the largest benefit to be in fatigue or anxiety.” Martin says he'd recommend acupuncture for patients who are receptive to the concept. The acupuncture used in this study is available in most communities.
- The research was done at Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.com