Acupuncture for breathlessness
A recent study has concluded that, ‘acupuncture improve[s] breathlessness severity in patients with advanced diseases.’ This is really interesting to see as it furthers the case for acupuncture as an alternative in yet another area. To move acupuncture away from the, ‘it is only good from pain’ narrative is so important for the future of the practice and time and time again research is beginning to see that it has the potential for a wider remit. One could even call it a stand alone medical system, almost as if a culture had developed this as a main approach to medical treatment for thousands of years… oh wait, a whole geographical region of the world did!
The study was a systematic review and meta-analysis, a study that pools data from many other studies to come to a more robust conclusion. The study included almost 600 patients (347 with COPD, 190 with advanced cancer). It found that in the majority of the studies breathlessness improved, in the majority that measured it exercise tolerance (or the ability to exercise) improved and in the majority that measured it quality of life improved.
This isn’t the largest research group so the authors called for more research before final conclusions could be drawn.