Medical Research

Dosage of Acupuncture

Kristen Sparrow • October 15, 2013

isams logoNo posting over the last few weeks since I was out of town at the Stockholm International Society of Meridian and Acupuncture Studies at the Karolinska Institute.  I was hoping to blog from there, but found it wasn’t practical to bring my computer everywhere in Stockholm since sight seeing was squeezed in at the end of the days.
In a talk by Dr. Panos Barlas, (alas no link to powerpoint presentation) he discussed the optimal “dosage” of acupuncture needling.  In the research write ups I’ve done, I refer to this as the DIPS of needling for ease of recall. The Duration, the Interval between sessions, the Point selection and the Stimulation type and intensity.
From his work, he has found that intensity matters. That those who experience “De Qi” improve more, but that some patients experience “De Qi” even with shallow needling.
The optimal time for treatment in between 20 and 40 minutes with 30 minutes being optimal.
Patients usually require 6 to 12 treatments.  He recommends exactly what my practice is, two times a week for two weeks and then weekly.  What he then said was a surprise to me, that daily treatment leads to tolerance. (Daily treatment is pretty common in China.)