Acupuncture treatment at Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital—a report on our initial experience.

Yong D, Lim SH, Zhao CX, Cui SL, Zhang L, Lee TL

Acupunture Research Clinic (ARC), Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital, Singapore.

BACKGROUND: We report our initial experience with acupuncture treatment at the Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital’s Acupuncture Research Clinic. PATIENTS: One thousand one hundred and twenty-eight patients received a total of 12,172 acupuncture treatment sessions during the period between September 1995 and December 1996. The majority were Chinese (94%), between 40-70 years (70%) with either dialect or Mandarin (68%) as the main spoken language. However, one third of the patients were English speaking, and educational level did not seem to be a factor among our patients accepting acupuncture treatment. Most had either painful conditions (58%) or stroke-related dysfunction (23%). Amongst the painful conditions, arthritis (25%), low back pain (22%) and other musculo-skeletal pain (12%) were the most common. RESULTS: Prior to treatment, about three-quarter of patients believed acupuncture would benefit them while 40% had tried acupuncture before. After completion of treatment, 70% of all patients considered acupuncture safe, 54% were satisfied with the overall result, 51% felt acupuncture was beneficial, while 54% would recommend acupuncture to others with similar conditions. In a subgroup of patients treated for painful conditions, > 90% reported improvement. Near-syncope occurred in 2 patients (0.18%) or during 2 treatment sessions (0.02%). There was no other acupuncture-related complication. CONCLUSION: Our preliminary experience showed that acupuncture is safe, and appears to be beneficial to patients with painful conditions. An overview of acupuncture treatment is presented, and the issues of safety, efficacy and a need to conduct enterzed controlled clinical trials are discussed.

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