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Interferential current therapy via electroacupuncture: significant benefits / recovery from ME/CFS

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Hip, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    That feeling you had of being drugged after acupuncture may have been due to the endorphins that acupuncture is known to release — see below.

    Perhaps some enterprising ME/CFS patients could learn to perform acupuncture on themselves. These is what @zzz is going to do. As zzz says, it is cheap to buy acupuncture needles:
    Self acupuncture would be a good way of making acupuncture affordable, especially if we need to have it done say 3 times a week. Though it is going to be more difficult if you have to insert needles in the spinal area of your mid back. Perhaps we may need to get partner or friend learn acupuncture, so that they can apply it to our backs.

    I actually bough a small box of acupuncture needles some years ago, just to try it. They are in fact extremely effortless to insert: you just lightly hold the needle between thumb and forefinger of one hand, and with the forefinger of the other hand just tap on the top of the needle, and it goes straight in.

    Another money saving option is community acupuncture, which is where an acupuncturist works with a small room of say 4 to 6 clients, all getting acupuncture at the same time. This reduces the fees quite a bit.


    Acupuncture and Endorphins: the Mechanism of Action in ME/CFS?

    It is conceivable that benefits of electro-acupuncture for ME/CFS derive from the increase in endorphins that it produces. This study on electro-acupuncture found that it increases cerebrospinal fluid levels of endorphins. And this study (full paper here) found that different frequencies of electro-acupuncture release different neuropeptides:
    Several ME/CFS patients have noted very significant improvements in their neurological symptoms from taking opioid pain medications (see this thread), and endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are the body's own endogenous opioids. So opioids would appear to be beneficial for reducing ME/CFS symptoms, but unfortunately there is the tolerance and addition problem with opioid medications. However, there are no such tolerance and addition problem with the endorphins generated by electro-acupuncture, as far as I am aware.


    One other point: in order to maximize the effect of acupuncture, it may be an idea to take some D-phenylalanine just before doing acupuncture. D-phenylalanine is an inhibitor of carboxypeptidase A, an enzyme which breaks down the endorphins that your body releases. So by taking D-phenylalanine, you may boost and maintain the benefits of acupuncture.

    EDIT: I just found this study which in fact confirms that D-phenylalanine does indeed enhance acupuncture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
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  2. sueami

    sueami Senior Member

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    I've had acupuncture work for an impossible-to-treat condition before.

    When I was pregnant with my second child, about 3 months in, I noticed something really weird. I went into my ob/gyn and she told me that I was noticing my cervix, very low in the birth canal. She pushed it back up, told me I was experiencing a uterine prolapse, and that she could fit me with a pessary for a while, but I would eventually need to be on bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy.

    I happened to be going to an acupuncturist for the first time a couple days later, to treat allergies, as I didn't want to take antihistamines. I didn't write the prolapse on my intake form, but mentioned it to him in session. He said, "oh, we can fix that," and treated me twice a week for about a month. It resolved in that time and stayed in place the rest of the pregnancy, enabling me to have a homebirth.

    I was so excited to return to my ob/gyn for my next monthly visit and tell her about this. The sum total of her response was, "oh, did the needles hurt?" And, it turns out, she was part-chinese and her mother was an acupuncturist. I was thoroughly disgusted with her lack of interest.

    I've also had acupuncture fail to make significant lasting improvements in recent years, as I've tried to deal with various manifestations of this chronic condition of mine.

    The specific points worked matters, I am certain. I am going to print out this article and see if I can find a local acupuncturist who can do at least electro stimulation of these points, as I think it's worth exploring.

    fwiw,
    Sue
     
  3. brenda

    brenda Senior Member

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    @Hip
    I would be interested to try it myself. The doc didn't put any needles in my back. Most were in my feet.
     
  4. fredounet

    fredounet

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    Hip what about the current magnitude, and where do you connect the output voltage, in the needles?
     
  5. golden

    golden Senior Member

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    I use biro pen tops on my ears.(edit: to do ACCUPRESSURE) I dont recommend anyone do this. I am skilled in this. There are hundreds of acupuncture points on the ears. It definately helps me.
     
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  6. Helen

    Helen Senior Member

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    According to slide 36 in the link presented in the first post, infections are a contraindication. As so many are struggling with infections, that should exclude many PWME from this treatment.
     
  7. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    These areas are literally grabbed and kneaded when being treated with Tuina, the Chinese Medicine equivalent of a rolfing massage to open the meridians. Tuina was developed to treat the injuries of martial artists thousands of years ago. If one wants to do Tuina and acupuncture, the treatments are usually alternated and not done on the same day, as they accomplish much the same thing using different methods. I've done both and found Tuina to be invigorating and relaxing.
     
  8. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years First Do No Harm

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    There are active infections when one is febrile and clearly has the cold and flu that one would have to make some changes in the treatment. I've had most of my colds/flu last for 3-4 months when I was receiving acupuncture and they take that into account when you're being treated. For some who have ME/CFS for a long time there comes a time when you just can go forever without getting a cold. I haven't had a cold in six years (touch wood). An allergist told me that our allergies lessen when we get older and so either it's aging or somehow my immune system is changing. I still have that awful sweaty achy feeling (probably due to FM and ME/CFS rolled into one) but it's nothing like having the flu.
     
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    The output voltage is connected to the acupuncture needles by means of wires and crocodile clips, as shown in these images.

    A professional TENS machine and ICT machine will have a built in current limiter, which will ensure the electrical current is kept below a maximum set value, around 80 mA maximum. However, if you used a HiFi amplifier to make a makeshift ICT machine, this would have no current limiter, so you would have to be careful, and control the current by carefully controlling the output voltage (by means of the amplifier volume knob). Ideally you would want to use an electrical multimeter to measure the current, so that you can ensure it remains below around 80 mA.
     
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  10. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    i was having acupuncture when i got ill. first time was for tennis elbow (this in the months leading up to mecfs) which it removed, or helped remove. i didn't fancy cortico-steroids. after that went i said i might aswell do 6 sessions as a health top up. i decided to see if it could help my asthma. id had it for 9 years, was on full strength ventolin 4 times a day, ate less cheeses, nose breathed and then acupuncture on my lungs and it was gone. it was 2 days before i realised that i hadn't reached for my inhaler. the monday i went to the dentist had a mercury filling and that was that. id asked for a white filling as i was already concerned they were causing problems. went to my usual acupuncture session on the wednesday (still hadn't had 6 in total), feeling bloated and confused but happy about no asthma. she asked what id done that week and i told her about the dentist and feeling crap since. she said i had damp, or candida in the west, and my mouth clearly had a yeast infection.

    Note: for the discussion of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chi, etc. look here.

    she said that damp can make your chi sticky, which i can now appreciate, and so needle treatments are now apt to work less than before, as the more energy you have, the more can be directed. i continued to have needle treatment but it didn't do much.

    years later i stumbled on an electro-acupuncture device at a local car boot sale for £2.50. it removed years of a feeling of stitich in my liver. the release was sumnmat else. the device i bought was the "healthpoint electro-acupuncture device" and is used in nhs hospitals i read. the inventor, julian jessel kenyon also runs, or ran, the dove clinic and have treated folk with mecfs. i can't ground the treatment from it at the moment but when i can, it can be very helpfull. ive seen it remove pretty serious pain on a few occasions. electro is more likely to help with mecfs, or be too much, one or the other. the fact a miniscule current on an insignicant point on your body can have an affect, good or bad, is interesting. the one i have makes a noise when its found the point as it measures skin resistance to locate them.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuI9HLQ2Q

    and pain
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HLY0rsPS
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
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  11. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    Isn't this thread meant to be about a study that claims an astronomical cure rate for "cfs". I would rather look at why this study is utter crap. Does anybody have access to the full paper?

    Even from the abstract you can see huge problems. The first is the subject group -- n = 60 based on the CDC diagnositic criteria which is notoriously good at misdiagnosing fatigued people with chronic fatigue syndrome. The second problem is no blinding and their control groups. The stated recovery rate using this treatment was stated to be 43.3%. The study authors define recovery as "the major symptoms and complications were completely gone, and the patient can adapt to normal social life and work".

    What you have here is a better recovery rate than treatments used to put cancer in remission. If you can get 43 percent of people with 'CFS' back to work by totally removing their symptoms then why aren't droves of people claiming that this kind of electrostimulation is curing them of CFS?

    Studies like this enrage me. With stuff like this who is going to take CFS seriously. Why should researchers like Lipkin, J. Newton, Fluuge, Edwards etc bother with their serious research when 43 percent of patients can be cured with a simple non-invasive procedure that is based on energy flowing around the body. Please no "big pharma won't let it happen comments" because people can easily access this treatment. It's not even about the efficacy of alternative treatments, it's about the stupendous claim made by these authors. The caliber of what gets into 'scientific' journals these days is ridiculous. If this study had been about cancer, HIV, etc, it would have been rejected as hugely ridiculous.

    How is it that this treatment can effectively cure people of a systemic illness that involves all of our major systems? It's a bloody miracle. I wonder why it doesn't cure people in the same manner from cancer, HIV, diabetes etc because really according to 'ancient' chinese medicine it's the chi that's out of whack in all diseases. Well unfortunately, when acupuncture was 'invented' there was no understanding of how the human body worked.

    See below for articles on acupuncture.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/oriental-medicine-a-tall-tale-of-outdated-lore/

    Why should anybody takes us seriously with stuff like this. It's bad enough that we have to put people claiming 100 percent cure with things like the Lightning Process. It's bad enough that we get CBT and GET shoved down our throats by the psychobabblers as the only effective treatments for ME/CFS. I don't know but this study is along those lines and people should be outraged. Maybe the IOM will use this study published in a journal to suggest possible treatments for CFS along with CBT and GET.

    I have no problem with acupunture, TENS, electrostimulation being used to treat pain but publishing a study that states that their therapy effectively cures 43 percent of people with CFS is beyond what is acceptable. :bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head::bang-head:
     
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  12. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I agree. The claims of a 20% recovery rate for electro-acupuncture, and a 43% recovery rate for interferential current therapy acupuncture seem like gross hype and exaggeration. Other studies on the benefits of acupuncture for ME/CFS, such as this one and this one, have found far more modest improvements in ME/CFS physical and mental fatigue.

    So it would seem that the claims made by this study need to be much toned down. Or perhaps their good results were obtained because they only used mildly sick ME/CFS patients. It is quite possible to satisfy the CDC CFS criteria, and still be relatively fit and able, say just below the health threshold for holding down a job. The fact that these patients presumably travelled to hospital daily, or several times a week, for the acupuncture treatment suggests that they were fairly healthy to start with. Ideally, ME/CFS studies should state the position that patients occupy on the Karnofsky scale (or a similar health scale) both before and after the therapy, so that it is possible to know the precise degree of improvement that the therapy has provided.

    However, the fact that this study found interferential current therapy acupuncture twice as effective as electro-acupuncture is worth noting.
     
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  13. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    My point was that this kind of 'gross hype and exaggeration' should be something you would find in the National Enquirer rather than a scientific journal. It's not a case of 'toning' down what they say, it's a case of crap like this shouldn't be published in any journal. And if it is published then journal it is published in can't be taken seriously.

    It's unacceptable.
     
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  14. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    It doesn't matter if it's not their fault that they used the CDC criteria. All that matters is that the CDC criteria used in this study do not describe or necessarily select for patients with our illness. Maybe people in a fatigue forum will find this study useful, if they aren't bothered by the sloppy recovery definitions.
     
  15. manna

    manna Senior Member

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    the inclusion criteria would have probably excluded me. which is noteworthy as i can't ground/utilse electro-acupuncture at the moment. which doesn't mean i automatically reject it, even though it makes me worse--question is, for me, why can a miniscule current even make me worse? so the study, at very least, was done on people who were more likely to respond. that would have inflated the results but still not to 42%. I still believe that electro-acupuncture, for those that can utilise it, offers one of the best forms of treatment presently available, in my experience. and you can do it youself, at home, cheaply. if needle acuouncture relaxes you, even briefly, then it should work.

    if theyd have said 10% overall, complete recovery, bearing in mind the inclusion/exclusion criteria, i wouldn't have been surprised. higher with the right diet and other things in place. remembering too its "complimentary"--to be done alongside other treatments or lifestyle changes. speaking generally here. it would be a shame if electro-acupunture got a bad rap because of this study. of course the stats could be right. knowing what i know, or what i think i know, its about double what id expected with the inclusion criteria they have...edit, thats a bit conservative really.

    im more surprised that interferential current was so helpfull. ive a fair bit of experience with tens and the healthpoint device with regards tro pain, and the latter is much better, ime. ive converted a few people with electro-acupuncture. in a healthy person in acute pain the affect is immediate and generally completely relieves. quite an eye opener. electro-acupuncture is what i used to get over "retention toxicity" from mercury filling removal. its the only thing that did it. like incline bed therapy, i had been wondering that electricity would help me and then i saw the device at a car boot/yard sale. it got me out of a rut and having no stitch was worth it on its own.

    i was watching the film "The secret garden" i think its call. period drama set in victorian england and in that there's a young boy who has some illness that keeps him in bed all day. they do some kind of electric current through his legs to "heal him", though looked more harmfull really. but interesting possible historical usage parallel. the current in electro-acupuncture is, generally i thhink, 1000x smaller than tens and can't be felt anywhere on your skin except when the probe is on an acupucture point. or on an "ah shee"(?) point. at the right time they can be powerfull devices. they go cheapish on ebay too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
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  16. Kina

    Kina Moderation Team Lead

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    The point isn't whether acupuncture works, the researchers in the original post stated that there was a cure rate of 43% and rather than discussing subject size, cohort selection, researcher/subject bias, lack of proper blinding, there seems to be the need to convince others that acupuncture is an effective treatment. That's not the point. The study was of poor design and the results are therefore not acceptable and my point is that these poorly designed crap studies are damaging to people who are truly ill.

    Cochrane reviews from the Trip Database (http://www.tripdatabase.com/)



    I searched 8 pages of Cochrane reviews and did not find one review that acupuncture was associated with curing a systemic illness. The overriding theme here is that acupuncture may work to reduce pain and other symptoms but in most cases more rigorous testing is needed, better control groups, etc. So when a study comes out regarding CFS and a fantastical claim of total recovery in 43% of the participants one should cast a critical eye on the research and say is this possible, has this been replicated, are the results valid. The answer is no. This isn't attack on acupuncture, it's an attack on research design, the use of research to make outlandish and damaging claims that basically has a negative effect on us.

    It's not about western vs traditional chinese medicine, it's about doing proper research, replicating the research, and not announcing that a treatment effectively 'cures' 43% of the subjects.

    By the way, for those who believe that acupuncture originated China, that may not be true -- look at the history of the silk trade and how some health practices actually originated elsewhere. The history of chinese medicine is fascinating.
     
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  17. zzz

    zzz Senior Member

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    I haven't heard anyone here defending that particular study; as I said before, I think we are in agreement that it is seriously flawed. But there have been serious questions raised about the effectiveness of acupuncture in general, specifically in this thread, and these need to be answered if we are to decide whether or not it is worth pursuing the use of acupuncture for ME. A large number of anecdotal reports indicate that acupuncture may be very helpful for ME; if acupuncture does indeed work (a point about which not everyone here is convinced), then it certainly may be worth following up with additional studies.

    Additionally, the question of whether acupuncture works entirely through mechanisms known to Western medicine or whether it uses at least some mechanisms currently unknown to Western medicine is an important one. If the answer is the latter, then it would seem that there are many more possibilities for acupuncture to be of benefit in illnesses such as ME.

    NOTE: For discussion of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chi, etc. look here.

    As the study that CFS_for_19_years was a high-quality, meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving almost 18,000 patients, published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine), and this study addressed all the objections raised about the Chinese study, I think we should take it seriously. Acupuncture where the needles are placed randomly is known as "sham acupuncture", and the study's authors felt it was crucial to show a statistically significant greater effect using true acupuncture as compared to sham acupuncture, which they did.

    I would recommend reading the whole article, but here is a summary of the findings in the article's own words. From the abstract:
    Note that the authors state both "Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain" and "Acupuncture is known to have physiologic effects relevant to analgesia,4,5 but there is no accepted mechanism by which it could have persisting effects on chronic pain. This lack of biological plausibility, and its provenance in theories lying outside of biomedicine, makes acupuncture a highly controversial therapy."

    So the authors state categorically that while acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain, there is no
    accepted mechanism in Western medicine whereby this could be true. Acupuncture may lack "biological plausibility", yet it works. (I am merely paraphrasing the study here.) The only logical explanation here is that it works through mechanisms currently unknown to Western medicine. The authors of the study seem comfortable with this position, as it is really the only scientifically sound position open to them. And they are not so arrogant as to believe that Western medicine understands everything at this point.

    So if you accept the authors' conclusions of the existence of these unknown mechanisms for the operation of acupuncture, whether or not you call one of them chi simply becomes a matter of semantics. Since the term chi is already universally in use among the practitioners of acupuncture, and it is a referent that everyone understands, there seems to be no good reason to change it.

    As to the integrity of their studies:
    As for the type of relief obtained, barbc56 says this:
    As noted above, the study looked at treatment for chronic pain, and they found that acupuncture can provide long-term relief. Short-term relief for chronic pain is not difficult; there are plenty of drugs that will give that. If that were all acupuncture did, there would be no need to mention "lack of biological plausibility", and the referral question mentioned directly below would be moot.

    So finally, from the concluding Interpretation section:
    The issue of our being taken seriously by the medical community has been raised in this thread. Let me turn that around. If we reject perfectly sound scientific studies by mainstream Western medicine such as this one, why should we expect Western medicine to pay attention to the studies that we cite in support of the nature of ME?

    I'll finish this with some (hopefully relevant) quotes from Mr. Feynman:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2014
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  18. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Here is another meta analysis which includes studies that have criteria that are closer to valid study design. Meta analysis is not the most helpful tool used to base conclusions. One reason being that the conclusion can vary depending upon the type of studies included.

    .

    The complete study which examines the literature for different medical conditions.

    While people certainly have the right to their beliefs, the bottom line is that acupuncture can't be dressed up as a treatment that is scientifically based.

    Barb
     
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  19. liverock

    liverock Senior Member

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    How it all actually began........................;)

    user791_pic297_1289394793.jpg
     
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  20. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Note: the posts discussing Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chi, etc. have been moved here. Inevitably there will be some overlap between the two threads. Posts that were off topic to both threads have been deleted.
     
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