Acupuncture and HIV/AIDS Research
Acupuncture is a basic treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture has been found through research to provide relief for many medical conditions and processes that then lead the sufferer toward greater health.
When the research and knowledge of acupuncture is combined with HIV and AIDS research the results are promising to help extend the lives of sufferers and improve the quality of life they are experiencing.
Acupuncture was developed in China nearly 2,000 years ago. The Chinese who practice TCM believe that acupuncture uses the bodys own energy to promote healing. It has only been since the early 1970s that Americans and other Western nations have embraced the use of acupuncture. Now it is one of the most popular of the complementary medicines and natural healing therapies.
Part of the appeal to practitioners treating patients with HIV and AIDS is that acupuncture is a drug-free, side effect free therapy with the potential to boost the immune system. Although TCM doesnt claim that acupuncture or any of their other practices improves the ability of the immune system it is inherent in the definition of how acupuncture uses the bodys own energy to promote healing.
Since the numbers of people suffering from HIV and AIDS is increasing TCM has become a more established method of treating some of the general HIV symptoms. Researchers have found that acupuncture, in combination with herbs, has been effective in treating fatigue, nausea, headaches, night sweats, diarrhea, insomnia, and shingles.
Practitioners and patients have also found that acupuncture and HIV AIDS research is responsive to treatment of drug side effect complications such as peripheral neuropathy, headaches, anemia, and rashes. There has been a significant lack of effective therapy found for patients with HIV related neuropathic pain and there is a definite resistance of patients with HIV to add one more pill or therapy to their already packed dosing schedule.
In a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in November 1998, researchers used controlled clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of using acupuncture to assist in the control of neurological pain experienced by patients who have HIV. They found that because of the definition of individualized study evaluating the results of these clinical trials were challenging and the interpretations were more problematic than the standardized Western-style therapy trials.
However, despite these issues they concluded that the acupuncture intervention was ineffective in treating HIV related neuropathic pain. These results dont negate the more positive effects that have been found and studied for use with other drug related or illness related side effects.
In contrast to the previous study is the current practice by clinicians at the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Houston Texas where they use a nine needle abdominal procedure to relieve the side effects of the Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). The HAART therapy side effects are common and can be severe consisting of diarrhea, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and abnormalities of liver and kidney. Clinicians have been successful in their treatment of patients and helping to relieve the symptoms of the medications.
Acupuncture and HIV AIDS research is advancing the art of relieving side effects from the illnesses and from the drugs necessary to treat those illnesses. Acupuncture has been an accepted form of treatment that carries no side effects and is painless. Under the care of a certified practitioner using sterile technique patients will experience relief and find that their daily lives easier.
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