The cost to society and the individual of treating asthma has been increasing in developed countries. This has given rise to studies of the efficacy of complementary treatments. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of traditional Chinese Acupuncture in patients with mild asthma. The method used for evaluation of efficacy was total airway resistance at 5Hz (R5) as measured by impulse oscillometry (IOS) – a forced oscillation technique, at baseline and after a bronchial challenge with voluntary isocapnic hyperventilation of cold air (IHCA). The study was a parallel group randomised placebo controlled trial with evaluator blinding. Twenty-seven asthmatics were recruited and 24 completed the study, 10 of them received acupuncture and 14 received a placebo treatment (mock-TENS). Treatment continued for 15 weeks, and efficacy was tested two weeks following the last treatment. Randomisation resulted in female over representation in the acupuncture group, but lung-function and bronchial responsiveness to IHCA were comparable in the two populations before the start of treatment (p>0.05 vs. p>0.05). There were no statistically significant effects of the treatment before (p>0.05) or after IHCA (p>0.05) in either of the groups. The statistical power of the study to show a clinically relevant difference in bronchial responsiveness to IHCA after treatment was near 80%. We conclude that there were no significant effects of traditional Chinese Acupuncture on airway status in our patients with asthma.
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