Acupuncture improves quality of life, physical and mental health for patients with allergic asthma, trial finds

A large randomized controlled, pragmatic trial involving 1445 patients with allergic asthma found that an integrative medicine approach in which acupuncture is added to routine care demonstrated improvements in both quality of life and physical and mental health for those receiving acupuncture. The successful results, reported after 3 months of treatment and maintained through the 6-month follow-up, are described in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM), a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the JACM website until June 3, 2017.

In the article entitled "Acupuncture in Patients with Allergic Asthma: A Randomized Pragmatic Trial," Benno Brinkhaus, MD, and coauthors from Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Universität Freiburg, Germany, and University Hospital Zurich and University of Zurich, Switzerland, undertook the study as part of a governmental assessment of the practice. Patients in the active arm received on average 15 acupuncture sessions during the first 3 months of the trial and no acupuncture between months three and six. As a pragmatic trial, reflecting real world conditions, a majority (70%) only received 5-10 visits.

"This pragmatic, multi-center trial -  engaged to inform policy-makers - leaves the dual message of multiple patient-centered benefits while at the same time requiring what was typically a surprisingly low number of treatments," states JACM Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, johnweeks-integrator.com, Seattle, WA. "Given the challenges presented to individuals dealing with the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, one might postulate that had the outcomes included productivity markers, the benefits from the protocol would have been even more positive for the intervention."

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