Tag Archive | "acupuncture"

Laser Acupuncture for Young Bedwetters

According to a new study in Turkey, laser acupuncture therapy which is a noninvasive, painless, short term therapy with low cost can be considered as an alternative therapy for young bedwetters.

The researchers wanted to see if they could help kids stop wetting the bed by targeting points on the body associated with the bladder in traditional Chinese medicine.  From their clinic, they recruited 91 young patients who were bedwetters with an average age of 8-9 years old and who typically wet the bed about 4 nights a week.

About two-thirds of the kids received acupuncture therapy on traditional bladder points using a low-power laser 3 times a week for 4 weeks.  For comparison, the other kids received the same treatment using a fake laser.

Of the kids who got the real laser therapy, 40% stopped wetting the bed entirely after 15 days compared to 8% of those with fake laser treatment.  After 6 months, rates of complete improvement were 54% versus 12%.  Also, 6 months after the treatment, kids in the laser therapy group wet the bed on an average less than twice a week compared to 3 times a week in the fake laser group.

But outside researchers were more skeptical that the procedure is any better than current methods used to treat bedwetters such as behavioral therapy (setting an alarm to wake kids up to pee during the night) and medications that make the body produce less urine.

Dr. Steve Hodges, who was not involved in the study, is a pediatric urologist from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina said “there’s a valid scientific basis for nerve stimulation leading to bladder relaxation, and therefore increasing your capacity to hold urine at night but the question is whether you need that.”

Dr. Peter Lipson, who was also not involved in the study, is an internist in Southeastern Michigan said the effect of acupuncture was probably due to chance and challenged whether the bladder points that were stimulated by the laser were medically relevant.  “The diagram on those points does not correspond to any real, physiologic or anatomic thing and there is no way to measure, observe or otherwise verify the existence of these points other than by folklore” he added.

About 5 million U.S. kids over age 5 are bedwetters according to the National Institutes of Health.  Those kids make more urine during the night than their bladders can hold but don’t wake up to use the bathroom when their bladders are full.

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Acupuncture and Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder symptom is a chronic condition characterized by pelvic pain, urinary frequency, urgency and sexual dysfunction.

Both men and women can get IC, although it occurs mostly in women.  People with IC can have symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection, but without an infection.  Often, there is painful, frequent, urgent, inhibited, or incomplete urination.    Sometimes there may be blood in the urine.  There may be a dull feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen and bladder.   The pain in the bladder can be intense or dull, and sometimes it is located in the pelvis, or on the pelvic floor.

No simple treatment exists to eliminate the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis, and no one treatment works for everyone. One may need to try various treatments or combinations of treatments before it can find an approach that relieves the symptoms.

One complementary and alternative therapy that has shown some promise in treating interstitial cystitis is acupuncture.

During an acupuncture session, a practitioner places numerous thin needles in the skin at specific points on the body.

Traditional Chinese medicine works by identifying specific imbalances in the body and using acupuncture to correct them. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. The traditional acupuncturist’s skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific to each patient’s needs.

Physiologically, acupuncture helps to reduce the symptoms of interstitial cystitis by decreasing inflammation, releasing pain relieving chemicals in the nervous system, and decreasing muscle spasm.  Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body and rebalancing the flow of life energy.

The results of acupuncture are cumulative over a series of treatments.  Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can work to heal itself and can result in long lasting benefit.

Western medical practitioners tend to believe that acupuncture boosts the activity of your body’s natural painkillers. From a biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system, influencing the production of the body’s communication substances – hormones and neurotransmitters. The resulting biochemical changes activate the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities and promoting physical and emotional well being.

This treatment has not been well-studied for interstitial cystitis, so be sure to discuss the use of this therapy with your doctor.

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