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Effectiveness of Acupuncture on the Treatment of Nervous System Diseases


The central nervous system is made of the spinal cord and the brain. The human nervous system, particularly the brain and its cognitive abilities, makes the most impressive and distinctive characteristics of humans. There exists little or inadequate understanding of the changes in the human nervous system and the way it differs from other primates. The human brain plays an important part in controlling body functions such as awareness, sensations, speech, movements, memory, and thoughts (Sousa et al., 2017). The spinal cord performs some reflex movements without direct or indirect participation of the brain.? It extends (the spinal cord doesn’t extend) to the nerves, which are wired to all parts of the body. The cord plays an important role in carrying signals back and forth to the peripheral nerves and the brain. The signals form quick communication between the brain and the body resulting in the sensation of pain (there’s no prior mention of pain sensation) (Rowin, 2019). The central nervous system extends (doesn’t extend) to nerves all over the body, which are responsible for sensations and movements which can result in pain. The research in this paper investigates if acupuncture is effective in treating diseases of the nervous system because it relieves pain in the body.

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The nervous system is a normal part of the body that can be affected or infected by various diseases. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease hinders the function, behavior, and memory of the brain. The disease is more prevalent in aging populations and is, however, not associated with pain. Its symptoms can be treated with some medications and behavior change. Another disease that affects the central nervous system is Bell’s palsy which is a sudden paralysis of one side of the facial muscles. The disease is caused by damage or inflammation of the facial nerve and is usually worse in the first two weeks (Ernsberger & Rohrer, 2018). Cerebral palsy is another disease that affects the nervous system, muscle coordination, movement, and control. Epilepsy is a long-term brain condition that causes repeated seizures in a person. Motor neuron disease (MND) also weakens muscles in the system, causing paralysis. Multiple sclerosis, neurofibromatosis, Parkinson’s disease, sciatica, and shingles are other nervous system diseases that cause pains in the body. Acupuncture is a treatment where very thin needles are inserted into a person’s skin to various depths at specific points of the body. It is used widely by many healthcare facilities and professionals since studies suggest that it relieves pain. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is limited evidence suggesting the effectiveness of acupuncture in other treatments (as cited in Huang et al., 2019). Its use in pain relief is unclear among many scientists. Some claim it works by balancing vital energy, while others argue it has a neurological effect. Thin needles are inserted in the skin of the body at acupuncture points which are described as points where muscles, nerves, and connective tissue are stimulated (Huang et al., 2019). According to the Huang et al. research, acupuncture stimulates the nerves; blood flow is increased at the same time triggering the activities of the body’s natural painkillers. This paper’s research investigates the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of central nervous system diseases by relieving pain with the help of the literature.

Background Information

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a neuropathic disorder that affects the wrist. The application of Cochrane methodology of data collection and sampling for acupuncture has been made in the treatment of the disease (Choi et al., 2018). The main objective of auricular acupuncture, electroacupuncture, moxibustion, acupressure, laser acupuncture, and acupuncture is the stimulation of the acupuncture points while treating CTS. The research assessed the harms or benefits of acupuncture and other acupuncture-related interventions in the management of pain and symptoms of CTS compared to sham or active treatments in adults. The adoption of acupuncture and other related interventions had support from previous research, which indicated their wide use and effectiveness in relieving pain. The criteria for the diagnosis of CTS in adults were provided by research for the research participants. The treatment of the symptoms of CTS was done by the Cochrane technology type of acupuncture in adults.

The treatment of CTS symptoms among adults has been done with the help of acupuncture and related interventions. According to Choi et al. (2018) study, randomized and quasi‐randomized trials and the effects of acupuncture and related interventions on CTS symptoms in adults have been examined. The research analyzed a total of 869 people who were diagnosed with CTS using 12 different studies (Choi et al., 2018). The studies used diverse designs, intervention, and clinical heterogeneity. The use of high-quality randomized control trials (RCTs) is necessary for assessing acupuncture and related interventions once CTS symptoms are identified (Choi et al., 2018). Various studies were used to compare acupuncture and associated interventions to placebo/sham treatments or active interventions, such as steroid nerve blocks, oral steroids, splints, non‐steroidal anti‐inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), surgery, and physical therapy. Acupuncture and laser acupuncture may have little or no effect in the short term on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) compared with placebo or sham acupuncture (Choi et al., 2018). The information appears to be credible, although the authors found minimal success with this type of treatment therapy for CTS, central nervous system disease.

The pain associated with neuropathy can be tackled with different therapies such as acupuncture in adults. Research conducted by Dimitrova et al. (2017) investigated the use of acupuncture in treating peripheral neuropathy. The research evaluated the efficacy of acupuncture for mono- and polyneuropathy pain as treatment of various neuropathy etiologies. Fifteen studies were assessed: an initial 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), a long-term follow-up, and a previous RCT re-analysis (Dimitrova et al., 2017). The research data and treatments in AMED, Scopus, Medline, Cochrane,, and CINAHL databases were utilized (Dimitrova et al., 2017). The research further investigated the eligibility of acupuncture efficacy in the treatments using parallel and crossover RCTs. The assessment of the quality of RCT was done by Evaluating the Scientific Quality of Investigations in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study found significant variability existed in how neuropathy was diagnosed, including neurologic exam, symptom scales, NCS, and serologic testing.

Research on the use of acupuncture for neuropathic pain in adults with symptoms of the condition has also been conducted. Chronic neuropathic pain treatment by acupuncture and related interventions studies among adults were reviewed (Ju et al., 2017). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) over an eight-week period treatment plan or more were done and compared acupuncture with sham other active therapies, acupuncture, or treatments for neuropathic pain in adults (Ju et al., 2017). The study’s main objective was to assess the efficacy of acupuncture as an analgesic for chronic neuropathic pain among adults. Applying Cochrane as a procedure for collecting and analyzing data, some of the notable outcomes registered include pain relief and intensity among adults (Ju et al., 2017). The research utilized Embase, MEDLINE, CENTRAL, Chine databases, WHO, and International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) for data collection.

Bell’s palsy is a disease of the central nervous system that is caused by damage or inflammation of the facial nerve and is usually worse in the first two weeks. A study by Liu et al. (2015) utilized 132 participants aged 18 to 60 who were spread into manual medicine, acupuncture, non-acupuncture, and electroacupuncture control groups (Liu et al., 2015). All participants in groups A-C received electroacupuncture after the acute period while the medical control group (Group D) did not (Liu et al., 2015). Groups A-C patients received prednisone mecobalamin and sulbutiamine at various doses and periods during the study (some were given daily). At a depth of 10–30 mm, the needles were inserted straightly or obliquely to produce the desired de qi sensation and remained in place for 20 minutes once every two days (Liu et al., 2015). The HB and Sunnybrook scale were adopted in the evaluation of bias within the assessment of extensive training for facial investigation and grading.

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Acupuncture has been deployed to treat victims of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) to enhance medical care. A study conducted by Maeda et al. (2017) investigates the relevance of acupuncture in treating CTS.

A total of 80 participants (women) aged 20-65 years were randomly assigned to three treatment cohorts and got 16 sessions within eight weeks (Maeda et al., 2017). The three cohorts were verum electroacupuncture ‘local’ to the impacted hand; verum electroacupuncture at ‘distal’ body parts, around the ankle contralesional to the severely affected hand; and last local sham electroacupuncture group where non-penetrating placebo needles were used (Maeda et al., 2017). Patients finished the Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome survey to examine pain and paraesthesia signs and symptoms at starting point, after therapy, and at their 3-month check-up (Rowin, 2019). Nerve conduction study assesses median nerve sensory latency, and imaging data of brain were acquired at the initial point and following treatment. The medical research examined the impact of acupuncture on discomfort sensed by the nervous structure while taking care of CTS.


The research in the paper utilized qualitative methods of data collection, data analysis, and results from previous research. The paper used were obtained by search on articles, journals, and studies on comfrey root, the functions of the nervous system, comfrey root and pain, and efficacy of comfrey root. The background had full information research from previous studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of the central nervous system by relieving pain (Choi et al., 2018). The highly adopted randomized controlled trials (RCTs) research was selected for the analysis of the efficacy of acupuncture (Dimitrova et al., 2017). The studies adopted had adult participants of ages above 18 years with diseases and symptoms of the central nervous system. The research paper obtained data and information from AMED, MEDLINE, Scopus, CINAHL, government websites, and databases (Dimitrova et al., 2017). The research utilized results of studies that validated the RCTs through quality checks with scores greater than nine adopted with the Scale for Assessing Scientific Quality of Investigations in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Huang et al., 2019). The study identified five papers on the use of acupuncture and related alternatives in the treatment of central nervous system diseases. The studies’ analyses were important in this paper; they are discussed below, and conclusions are made.


Original RCTs, follow-up, and re-analysis on 15 studies on acupuncture for neuropathy resulting from Bell’s palsy, diabetes, HIV, carpal tunnel syndrome, and idiopathic conditions were selected. Acupuncture showed sufficient evidence in the treatment of idiopathic neuropathy and effectiveness in HIV-related neuropathy. A random-effects model summary from meta-analyses on diabetic neuropathy and Bell’s palsy showed a ratio of 4.23 with p<0.001, implying acupuncture had control of neuropathic symptoms (Huang et al., 2019). With Cochrane methods applied on the use of acupuncture for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, short-term clinical improvements were reported. A study on conventional acupuncture compared with ibuprofen showed adverse events with ibuprofen while none were experienced with acupuncture. A study that compared acupuncture with other therapies such as mecobalamin, inositol, and nimodipine combination showed a reduced risk of no clinical response compared to other therapies. No significant difference between local, distal, and sham groups of acupuncture on carpal tunnel syndrome subjects used in pain relief.


The analyses in the paper show how acupuncture treatment more effective compared to sham acupuncture methods and medicine methods used pain management. The application of acupuncture significantly reduces CTS symptoms in neurophysiological outcomes. The utilization of highly randomized control trials was significantly valued, with results showing greater evidence of pain relief using acupuncture in the treatment of neuropathic diseases. The use of acupuncture or laser acupuncture showed little or no effects on the short-term symptoms of CTS, implying it can be used as a treatment for central nervous system diseases compared to placebo or sham acupuncture.


The utilization of acupuncture in the treatment of central nervous system diseases is recommended from the results which have been obtained. Acupuncture leads to no adverse conditions or serious pain, discomfort, skin bruises, and local paraesthesia in patients hence highly recommended. It is appropriate to conduct further research on the benefits of acupuncture in peripheral neuropathies, since it has proved to be effective in pain relief.


Choi, G. H., Wieland, L. S., Lee, H., Sim, H., Lee, M. S., & Shin, B. C. (2018). Acupuncture and related interventions for the treatment of symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews12(12), 3-10. Web.

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Dimitrova, A., Murchison, C., & Oken, B. (2017). Acupuncture for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine23(3), 164–179. Web.

Ernsberger, U., & Rohrer, H. (2018). Sympathetic tales: Subdivisons of the autonomic nervous system and the impact of developmental studies. Neural Development, 13(1), 20.

Huang, Z., Liu, S., Zhou, J., Yao, Q., & Liu, Z. (2019). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chronic discogenic sciatica, a randomized controlled sham acupuncture trial. Pain Medicine, 20(11), 2303–2310.

Ju, Z. Y., Wang, K., Cui, H. S., Yao, Y., Liu, S. M., Zhou, J., Chen, T. Y., & Xia, J. (2017). Acupuncture for neuropathic pain in adults. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews12(12), 13-21. Web.

Liu, Z. D., He, J. B., Guo, S. S., Yang, Z. X., Shen, J., Li, X. Y., Liang, W., & Shen, W. D. (2015). Effects of electroacupuncture therapy for Bell’s palsy from acute stage: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 16, 378.

Maeda, Y., Kim, H., Kettner, N., Kim, J., Cina, S., Malatesta, C., Gerber, J., McManus, C., Ong-Sutherland, R., Mezzacappa, P., Libby, A., Mawla, I., Morse, L. R., Kaptchuk, T. J., Audette, J., & Napadow, V. (2017). Rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex in carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture. Brain: A Journal of Neurology, 140(4), 914–927.

Rowin, J. (2019). Integrative neuromuscular medicine: Neuropathy and neuropathic pain: Consider the alternatives. Muscle & Nerve60(2), 124–136.

Sousa, A., Meyer, K. A., Santpere, G., Gulden, F. O., & Sestan, N. (2017). Evolution of the human nervous system function, structure, and development. Cell, 170(2), 226–247.

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