Acupuncture is helpful in treatment of COPD, study finds

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Acupuncture appears to help the labored breathing that accompanies chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a new study suggests.

Japanese investigators tracked 68 COPD patients over a 12-week period. Half of the participants received acupuncture plus daily medication, while the other half was assigned to a placebo in which the acupuncture needles used did not breach the participants' skin. Researchers then assessed each subject's improvement using the Borg scale after a six-minute walking test.

Subjects treated with real acupuncture needles improved their breathing, while there was no improvement seen in the sham acupuncture group.

“These findings demand larger but equally methodologically rigorous confirmatory studies if we are to consider integrating this approach into our management strategy," researchers George T. Lewith, M.D., and Mike Thomas, Ph.D., wrote in a commentary with the study.

The study was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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