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Acupuncture Erectile Dysfunction

Acupuncture Erectile Dysfunction

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a method of healing that depends on stimulating certain specific points on the body by inserting fine needles. The goal is to modify the sensation of pain and to alter bodily functions to treat or prevent various ailments.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the practitioner first inspects his patient, then smells or listens to him, and finally feels his pulse on each wrist to detect as many as 40 pulse characteristics. After these diagnostic steps, treatment is accomplished by inserting solid, hair-thin needles into some of more than 360 traditional sites that are distributed along the body's 14 "meridians." In typical cases, 6 to 10 needles are considered sufficient. According to traditional beliefs, the body's Qi (pronounced "chee"), or vital force, flows along these meridians. By stimulating specific acupoints, the practitioner aims to redirect his patient's Qi, thus restoring the proper balance between yin and yang, the opposite forces that determine illness and health.

The traditional practitioner's art depends not only on selecting the correct sites, but on inserting the needle at the proper angle and advancing it to the right depth, usually a fraction of an inch. The acupuncturist twirls the needle until he elicits a sensation of numbness, warmth, or tingling called the De Qi response; in most cases, this takes 2 to 30 minutes. Whereas a single treatment may be prescribed for a simple problem, a series of 10 or more sessions is usually recommended for chronic conditions.

Can acupuncture help treat ED?

Research into the use of acupuncture to treat ED is limited, and the studies so far have been small. These studies have primarily focused on patients with ED caused by psychological, rather than medical or physical, issues. However, some results seem hopeful in the effectiveness of acupuncture for psychological ED.

In one study, participants were tested in two groups. One group had acupuncture in the specific acupressure spots for ED. (For ED treatment, acupuncture needles are placed along the abdomen, hands, and legs.) The control group was given acupuncture in other areas of the body. About two-thirds of those in the group getting the ED treatment showed signs of improvement of their ED symptoms compared to the control group.

Some in the control group were allowed to “cross over” and receive the ED treatments as well. Several of those patients also showed improvement of ED symptoms.

Other studies have had mixed results. The studies done indicate that there may be some effectiveness in acupuncture treatment of ED with psychological and emotional causes, but more studies need to be done.

Does it work?

Needless to say, that's the crucial question. Unfortunately, though, it's very hard to answer. One difficulty is that acupuncture is often used for subjective symptoms, such as pain, or for chronic conditions that wax and wane on their own. Even if a patient feels better after undergoing acupuncture, scientists don't know if his apparent improvement is actually due to the treatment, if it reflects the patient's belief in acupuncture and his desire to get well, or if the improvement merely represents the spontaneous fluctuations of the ailment itself.

Acupuncture Intervention

Acupuncture was applied in three separate protocols each week:

  • Manual acupuncture was applied to acupuncture point UB33 (BL-33, Zhongliao).
  • Manual acupuncture was applied to the pudendal nerve point (PN).
  • Electroacupuncture was applied to PN.

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