New Research Shows Acupuncture Relieves Pain in Chronic Prostatitis

acupuncture meridian modelChronic pelvic pain syndrome is something I see often in my clinic.  Recently there have been number  of studies focusing on acupuncture for CP/CPPS have shown positive results.  I previously wrote about a study using electroacupuncture.  Today, I will tell you about another study that also showed acupuncture to  reduced pain, urinary symptoms, and improved overall quality of life (1).

Research Study on Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis

A small pilot study was created using a standardized acupuncture treatment based upon traditional principles of TCM theory.  The basic idea is that when there is pain, there is an imbalance in the circulation of qi in the body. An old saying in Chinese medicine states,  “When there is no movement, there is pain.  When there is movement, there is no pain.”

They created a standardized acupuncture treatment by choosing points that are known to “move the qi and blood and relieve pain” .  The treatments were given twice a week for six weeks.

The Acupuncture Relieved Pain

After the treatment was finished, the men in the study had a decrease in pain, an increase in functioning, and improvement in overall quality of life.  This improvement remained for the 6 week followup.

It is important to see that acupuncture effects both the mind and the body.  CP/CPPS does not just cause pain, discomfort, and dysfunction, it also effects the emotional well being as well.  It causes anxiety, depression, and a major disruption in your life.

This reinforces what we have known for a long time- acupuncture has a holistic effect, benefiting both the mind and body.

Acupuncture Improves Quality of Life

This study, and the others, show that acupuncture may have an effect on reducing pain and improving the lives of men with CP/CPPS.  This is a great approach for a pilot study. Larger studies are needed for stronger proof of acupuncture’s efficacy in this condition.

As the research into CP/CPPS develops, it would be exciting to examine an individualized treatment approach, which is how I and most other acupuncturists treat in our clinic.   Individualized treatment may provide more substantial, quicker, and are more resilient results than a standard treatment.

Combining Acupuncture Therapies

Acupuncture is more than just acupuncture.  It is a system of healing which includes many types of therapy.  The combination of therapies work in a synergistic manner for faster and long lasting relief. For example, in addition to acupuncture, I often use Chinese herbs, gua sha, acupressure, and cupping as well.

A relatively new approach to incorporating a realistic treatment in research is called the Whole Systems’ Approach.   In this type of research, acupuncturists are allowed to treat the patient using any aspect of TCM they would normally use in their own clinic, as opposed to using acupuncture alone. This has a stronger relationship to what happens in the real clinic and potentially is very exciting for clinicians and the research world.

A wonderful example of this is a study currently being run at the University of Arizona focusing on TCM for Tempomandibular Joint Dysfunction.

Read more on Chronic Prostatitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome:

1. Capodice JL, Jin Z, Bemis DL, et. al. A pilot study on acupuncture for lower urinary tract symptoms related to chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain. Chin Med. 2007 Feb 6;2:1.

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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