A study, published by BioMed Central, examined the effects and benefits of acupuncture and/or homeopathy over a four year span. The patients who participated had long standing health issues, which were resistant to conventional treatments. The study worked with a health insurance company in Germany, to determine whether these treatments were actually beneficial to patients. Over 5000 patients took part in the acupuncture study; over 900 in the homeopathic study.
The objectives of this study were to measure effects, specifically:
● the quality of life before and after treatment as reported by patients,
● the change of the main symptoms as rated by doctors, and
● the number of work days lost, generated by data from the insurance company.
Doctors were asked to document the diagnosis, the application of treatment, and improvement or deterioration of the main symptom(s) every time they saw the patient. Patients were given questionnaires to fill out to establish a baseline prior to treatment, and to rate effectiveness, satisfaction, quality of life, side effects, etc, after treatment. The health insurance company provided data regarding work days lost, and days in the hospital.
The results show evidence of subjective benefits in all three outcome criteria. The doctors’ ratings of the change of complaints showed significant improvement of symptoms over the course of treatment for both acupuncture and homeopathy. This overall improvement was supported by quality-of-life data. Patients reported middle to large beneficial effects post-treatment compared to pre-treatment. The therapy seems to have resulted in a significant improvement in the perception of well-being, with patients being very satisfied with the treatment. And data from the insurance company showed the number of work days lost after treatment declined, with patients going back to their normal.
he study came to the conclusion that both acupuncture and homeopathy appear to be effective practices that satisfy and help the majority of patients. It also showed that the effects of the treatment were sizeable, clinically meaningful and stable over time.
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Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.