Acupuncture not helpful for stroke recovery

Reuters

Acupuncture does not help speed recovery after stroke, according to an analysis of 10 trials using fake or "sham" acupuncture as a control.

"Our meta-analysis of data from rigorous randomized sham-controlled trials did not show a positive effect of acupuncture as a treatment for functional recovery after stroke," Dr. Jae Cheol Kong of Wonkwang University in Iksan, South Korea, and colleagues conclude in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Some recent studies have found no benefit for acupuncture when it is compared to sham acupuncture, a placebo version of the traditional Chinese medicine technique that can involve needling non-acupuncture points, penetrating the skin shallowly, or not penetrating the skin at all.

For example, recent studies found acupuncture was not effective for inducing labor, while another showed no benefit of the traditional Chinese technique for improving the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

While several reviews of the medical literature on acupuncture for stroke recovery have been published, the authors of the current study note, many have had limitations, for example failing to include studies published in Asian countries.

To address this issue, Kong and colleagues searched 25 databases and 12 Korean traditional medicine journals. Among 664 studies on the topic, the researchers found 10 that met their criteria, including 711 patients in all.

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