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October 2021

Respir Med. 1998 Sep; 92(9): 1143-5.

Acupuncture in treatment of stable asthma.

Biernacki W, Peake MD.

Chest Unit, Pontefract General Infirmary, U.K.

Previous studies of acupuncture in asthma have reported conflicting results, some claiming benefit for some patients. We conducted a randomized, double-blind (patient and evaluator) study in 23 non-smoking asthmatics (10 M; 13 F) aged 43 +/- 15 years with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 59 +/- 16% pred. After initial assessment (respiratory function tests and Asthma Quality Life Questionnaire) patients were randomized to receive either 'real' or 'sham' acupuncture. The measurements were repeated within 1 h and after 2 weeks. Patients were recording peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) throughout the period of the study. After 2 weeks patients who received 'real' treatment on the first visit received 'sham' treatment and vice versa. The measurements were again repeated within 1 h and after 2 weeks. There was no improvement in any aspects of respiratory function measured after either form of acupuncture. Despite this there was a significant improvement in AQLQ and parallel reduction in the usage of bronchodilators. We concluded that in some patients acupuncture could be useful in improving quality of life and reducing the need for using bronchodilators either by having a placebo effect or that the exact site of needle puncture on the chest is unimportant.

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