Seniors May Benefit From Acupuncture

By: Jody Smith

Seniors may seem an unlikely group to be heading for acupuncture. But baby boomers have been into alternative therapies for some time.

And for seniors who are older than the baby boomers, well, some of them are tired of settling for some treatments that haven't been working for them. And some of them would like to cut back on the number of medications they're taking.

An article on Airdrieecho.com said that Dr. Kwong Chiu, an acupuncturist and the president of the Acupuncture Council of Ontario, has seen many seniors in his practice for pain relief.

Chiu said that acupuncture gives seniors an alternative to medication for pain. Since many seniors are on numerous medications, being able to reduce the number of medications they need to take is advantageous.

Dr. Mandy Liu, an acupuncturist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada said that seniors come to her after having tried other pain treatments without success. Liu said that sciatica, as well as shoulder and back pain most often bring seniors in to her office. Improvement generally comes after between three and six treatments of one hour duration each, she said.

Acupuncture treatment may seem like an improbable solution to some of the distressing symptoms of menopause. But research from Turkey showed some promising and surprising results.

An article on 50plus.com reported that out of 53 women who had been through menopause, half were given acupuncture for five weeks. The other half did not receive acupuncture but thought they did. This sleight of hand was accomplished by the use of needles with blunted ends that didn't actually puncture the skin.

Even though both groups thought they'd gotten the real thing, it was the group of women who actually had acupuncture that showed the most improvement. The women who had acupuncture experienced milder hot flashes. Their estrogen levels also rose higher than the other groups' levels.

Data on this study were published in Acupuncture in Medicine. 

In another 50plus.com  article, seemingly contradictory results occurred in other research. A study performed at Ruhr University Bochum in Bochum, Germany found that both acupuncture and fake acupuncture brought about an reduction in pain for lower back pain.

It was also found that both real and fake acupuncture brought better results by two-fold than analgesics, heat therapy, massage or physiotherapy.

Over one thousand patients between the ages of 18 and 86 years with chronic lower back pain took part in treatments, some receiving acupuncture and some who received sham acupuncture treatments. 

Six months into the treatments, 47 percent of the patients who had acupuncture had less lower back pain, and 44 percent who thought they had acupuncture also had reduced pain. A much lower 27 percent of the participants who received the other, conventional treatments had improvement in their lower back pain.

Sources:

Seniors turn to acupuncture for relief

http://www.airdrieecho.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?archive=true&e=1588369

The Zoomer Report: Acupuncture for Menopause

http://www.50plus.com/lifestyle/the-zoomer-report-acupuncture-for-menopause/114983

Acupuncture - real or fake - reduces back pain

http://www.50plus.com/health/acupuncture-real-or-fake-–-reduces-back-pain/1336

Introduction to alternative remedies: Aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage and homeopathy

http://www.50plusseniornewspa.com/news/2011/oct/19/introduction-alternative-remedies-aromatherapy-acu

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