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  • Writer's pictureMarieke Pieterman, L.Ac.

Can acupuncture help reduce bone loss? Some studies say yes.

By Marieke A. Pieterman

As you approach menopause, is your doctor urging you to get a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan? That’s probably because your risk for osteoporosis (“porous bone”) increases once you reach menopause due to lack of estrogen.

Failing to supplement with calcium puts you at greater risk for the most common bone fractures -- spine, hip, and wrist. However, receiving acupuncture and moxibustion (moxa) has been shown to surpass the benefits of calcium supplementation when it comes to postmenopausal osteoporosis.

In a research study at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, acupuncture was not only found to be effective in alleviating pain, but also in regulating biochemical markers specifically related to osteoporosis in postmenopausal patients.

Ninety participants were divided equally into three groups: 1) the calcium group that received a calcium carbonate supplement; 2) an electro-acupuncture group that received acupuncture attached to micro-current on the needles; and 3) the warm needling group that received acupuncture and moxa placed on top of the needle handle. The participants had received their osteoporosis diagnosis anywhere from six months to five years.

The calcium group was given 600 mg of calcium carbonate tablets to be taken daily for 30 days. The electro-acupuncture and warm needling group received the same bilateral acupuncture points, retained for 30 minutes with electric stimulation and moxa, respectively. Acupuncture was administered daily for 30 days.

The warm needling group was found to have the most significant reduction in the self-reported pain scales compared to the electro-acupuncture or calcium groups. In addition, the biochemical markers related to postmenopausal osteoporosis were evaluated and again, the warm needling group showed a significant increase in the serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) level, which contributes to improved bone and cartilage formation.

This result was complimented by further findings that showed it also decreased serum interleukin 6 (IL-6), which contributes to bone resorption (when bone tissue is broken down). Furthermore, the warm needling group reduced tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) levels, which actually trigger bone resorption. The warm needling group was found to activate a number of biochemical responses that further impede bone loss in women suffering from postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Do you want to be more proactive with your overall bone health to ensure your risk is reduced for a potential hip fracture? Call Holistic Heart Acupuncture and schedule your acupuncture and moxa treatment to relieve you of your osteoporosis pain and help keep those bones strong for years to come!

Acupuncture Found Effective For Postmenopausal Osteoporosis



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