Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju

Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Acupuncture is effective for sciatica (sciatic pain), research update.

Sciatica, a common type of neuropathic pain, is characterized by radicular pain radiating from the lower back region and down to the leg, sometimes with or without numbness, and muscle weakness. These symptoms are mostly related to the compression of the spinal nerve root by disc herniation, accounting for 85% of the total cases. A significant proportion of patients with sciatica experience pain that persists for 1 year or longer due to lack of effective treatments. Persistent or unresolved pain could eventually lead to neurological deficits and functional disability, which have a serious impact on the quality of life.

For patients with sciatica, acupuncture has been recommended as an effective method for pain relief. A recent review assessed the published clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupuncture therapy for treating sciatica to support acupuncture for sciatica.

They analysed a total of 30 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 2,662 participants and the result showed that the clinical efficacy of acupuncture was superior to that of medicine treatment (MT) in improving the total effective rate, reducing the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) pain score, increasing pain threshold and decreasing recurrence rate and having fewer side effects.

They conclude that acupuncture therapy is an effective and safe treatment for patients with sciatica, and it can be considered a suitable replacement for medicine treatment (MT).

Zhihui Zhang et al Front Neurosci. 2023; 17: 1097830.

Monday, 27 February 2023

Acupuncture releases hand and wrist pain

Acupuncture has analgesic effects and is used to release pain clinically. Because of the effectiveness and free from side effects, it became a popular treatments for many pain conditions.

Recently a systematic review studied the effect of acupuncture on hand and wrist pain intensity, functional status, and quality of life in adults. Their result has shown that

For cryotherapy-induced pain, 1 trial showed significant pain reduction post treatment.

For rheumatoid arthritis, 1 trial shown significant pain reduction and function improvements post treatment and short-term.

For carpal tunnel syndrome, 1 trial showed significant pain reduction and functional improvements intermediate-term.

For tenosynovitis, 1 trial showed significant pain reduction and function improvements short-term. For poststroke impairments, 1 trial showed significant function improvements post treatment and at short-term.

They conclude that acupuncture may be effective and safe for short-term pain reduction and functional improvement in hand-and-wrist conditions.

Kien Trinh et al Med Acupunct. 2022 Feb 1;34(1):34-48.

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Acupuncture reduces pain of knee arthritis-research updates

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a degenerative joint disease and is presented as pain, swelling, stiffness, and dysfunction. The chronic knee pain can seriously affect the quality of patient lives. Pain killers can reduce pain and alter the disease progression, but it has many adverse side effects.

Acupuncture can effectively reduce arthritic knee pain without side effects. This is proved by research. For example, A paper analysed eleven randomised clinical trials CTs with 2484 patients with knee arthritis. The meta-analysis indicated that acupuncture had beneficial effect on knee osteoarthritis in reducing pain and improved patients function activities. They conclude that acupuncture has beneficial effect on pain relief and improves function activities, and this treatment can be recommended as a beneficial alternative therapy in patients with KOA, particularly for chronic patients and those currently undergoing long-term pain and help them increasing quality of life. Another paper studied the effect of acupuncture on 625 patients with knee arthritis. The result has shown that pain was significantly reduced in acupuncture group compared with waiting-list control group. Another paper analysed 9 trials with 724 patients with knee arthritis. The result has shown that acupuncture effectively reduced knee pain.

Hao Tian et al Biomed Res Int. 2022: 6561633.
Jiali Liu et al Chin Med. 2022; 17: 67.
Xingzhen Lin et al Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Feb 25; 101(8): e28838.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Acupuncture is becoming mainstay treatment of pain release.

Everyone gets pain at some stages in their life. Pain can seriously affect the quality of life. The pain stimulus is transformed into a nerve signal sent to the brain, the pain sensation and pain response are produced by integrating and processing in the brain. Some neurotransmitters (opioid peptides, γ-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine and glutamate) have been found to get involved in pain modulation.

Pain killers are effective, but at the same time, addiction, drowsiness, and other side effects could not be ignored. Abuse of painkillers may cause serious damage to brain function.

While one of the advantages of acupuncture is that it has few side effects. Acupuncture is becoming the mainstay of pain management and acupuncture has gained popularity around the world. It is commonly known that acupuncture is the effective pain management from China. Today, many types of research have confirmed that acupuncture has a positive analgesic effect in treating pain. A significant quantity of clinical trials has shown that the neuromodulation of acupuncture can control pain and inflammation in many diseases. It has an excellent curative effect in relieving headache, neuropathic pain, back pain, knee osteoarthritis etc. Some international clinical guidelines suggest that the effect of acupuncture on pain is equivalent to traditional pharmacology or interventional technology. Due to its positive effect and superior safety, it is more acceptable to the general population.In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognized that acupuncture alleviates pain. Modern research suggested that acupuncture the stimulates acupoints and modulates neurotransmitters producing analgesic effects.

A research paper analysed the progress and research trend of acupuncture analgesia from the data of last 10 years from 2011-2021. A total of 4781 English articles were included in the bibliometric analysis. The publication of acupuncture analgesia research more than doubled in last 10 years from 304 in 2011 to 687 in 2020. 4781 articles on acupuncture treatment for pain came from 1043 journals. Among them, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published the largest number of publications (7.8%), followed by Medicine (4.8%) and Acupuncture in Medicine (4.8%). A total of 91 countries have published publications on acupuncture treatment for the pain of which 32 countries have published more than 20 articles. The top five countries in terms of the number of publications were China (1577 articles), the United States (1205 articles), South Korea (465 articles), England (330 articles), and Germany (258 articles).

Menglong Zhang, et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022; 2022: 1451342.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

How can acupuncture release pain? research updates.

Mast cells are a type of immune cells in the human body which play a vital role in the progression of many diseases. They are involved in protective host immunity as the regulators.

Acupuncture is an effective analgesic therapy. Acupuncture points (acupoints) are characterized by a high density of subcutaneous mast cells (MCs); their activation has turned out to play a crucial role in the initiation of the analgesic effect.

Recent research has shown that subcutaneous mast cells are involved in the trigger mechanism of analgesia induced by acupuncture.

Skin mast cells are present at a high density in acupuncture points, and they are sensitive to mechanical stimulation. The enrichment of mast cells and the dense arrangement of collagen fibers, microvessels, and nerves form the basis for acupoints as the reaction sites of acupuncture.

Acupuncture manipulation activates the mast cells via the collagen network resulting in the migration, the aggregation, and the activation of mast cells. Acupuncture can cause the deformation of collagen fibers and activate TRPV channels on mast cells membrane, so as to stimulate mast cells to release bioactive substances and activate nerve receptors to generate analgesic effect.

Li-Na Wang et al Cells. 2022 Mar; 11(5): 809.
Yingchen Li et al Cells. 2022 Mar; 11(5): 860.

Sunday, 19 February 2023

This is a great documentary about acupuncture


This is a great documentary that describe how acupuncture was legalized in the California and then spread over to all other states.

Friday, 10 February 2023

Living with arthritis and benefits of acupuncture

Living with arthritis, and acupuncture.

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness and loss of movement, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage in the joints breaking down. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.


Osteoarthritis is the most common joint condition and the most common form of arthritis which is progressive and degenerative. Osteoarthritis is caused by gradual loss of joint cartilage.

Joint cartilage is the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones forming the joints. It cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion. Daily wear-and-tear damages a joint's cartilage resulting in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be accelerated by a joint injury or infection.

Osteoarthritis also causes changes in the bones and deterioration of the connective tissues that attach muscle to bone and hold the joint together. If cartilage in a joint is severely damaged, the joint lining may become inflamed and swollen.

Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability and is associated with major impacts on physical function and mobility. Osteoarthritis generally affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and feet. Diagnosis is based on radiological changes, and clinical presentation of joint pain; including tenderness, limitation of movement, joint effusion, and variable degrees of localized inflammation. Approximately 10% of men and 18% of women aged 60 years or older have symptomatic osteoarthritis worldwide.

Anyone can get osteoarthritis. There is high risk if you are in late 40s or older women; if you are overweight or have had previous joint injury or another joint condition; if you have physically demanding job which need to have repetitive movements; people with joint injury history are more likely developing the disease later in life. The most common symptom is joint pain. Joint pain is usually worse later in the day and can associated with swelling, stiffness, weakness of muscles around affected joints. Mobility reduction and joint creaking can also occur.

Pain killers are commonly used for pain management. Long term use of painkiller can lead to many side effects, some of which are very serious such as bleeding problems associated with aspirin. As a consequence, in more recent years, patients seek alternative treatments.

Can acupuncture help osteoarthritis?

Acupuncture is reported to be effective in treating chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis. The use of acupuncture in adults with osteoarthritis was associated with significant reduction in pain intensity. For example, this is a randomized, controlled clinical trial with a large number of patients---3633 patients in total. Patients treated with acupuncture showed significantly improvements in symptoms and quality of life compared to those in control group. Acupuncture which is believed invokes the release of endogenous opioid and depression of stress hormone release.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is less common than osteoarthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule. This lining (synovial membrane) becomes inflamed, swollen and painful. The disease process can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

54% of rheumatologists recommend acupuncture treatment in the US

Apart from conventional medicine treatment, doctors have shown openness towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy. There is a survey by Manek NJ (2010) about the opinion of rheumatologists in the United States on CAM treating rheumatoid. Six common CAM therapies are included: spinal manipulation, acupuncture, energy medicine, meditation, glucosamine and body work. Most of rheumatologists are likely to recommend CAM therapy. Body work comes first. 70% of rheumatologists think body work is beneficial. 54% or rheumatologists accepted that acupuncture is a beneficial therapy.

Indeed there are many studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There was a systematic review by Wang et al (2008). They studied 12 Western and Chinese databases and references. Tender joint pain, morning stiffness were investigated. In eight studies, acupuncture is used 11 weeks on average with about 42 sessions. Needle retention is 24 minutes on average. Results showed that six studies reported a significant reduction of pain in acupuncture group and 4 studies reported a reduction of morning stiffness.

Wang C et al Arthritis Rheum (2008) 59:1249-56
Manek NJ et al BMC Complement Altern Med (2010) 28:10-5

Acupuncture can help to raise progesterone level to get pregnant.

In women progesterone is mainly made in the ovary. The production of progesterone is increasing rapidly after ovulation. Its level is highes...