Acupuncture for itchiness: An evidence-based solution

acupunctureThere are dozens of medical conditions that include itchiness as a symptom – including allergic reactions, viral rashes and nerve disorders and drug reactions. Most likely, you’ve felt itchiness at some point during life, and you know how miserable it can be.

Typically, the treatment for itchiness is a skin cream, cool water, and an attempt to address the underlying medical condition. A new systematic review published earlier this year found another effective solution: acupuncture.

Acupuncture is an alternative medical treatment that involves inserting very thin needles in the skin into specific nerves, muscles and connective tissues. It has been practiced in China for thousands of years, but only gained popularity in the U.S. over the past 50 years.

In this new meta analysis, researchers in China searched for randomized, controlled trials that evaluated whether acupuncture is effective at treating itching related to skin disorders and systemic diseases. They identified three trials with a total of 70 participants that compared acupuncture to placebo and other medical treatments. They found that acupuncture made a significant impact on alleviating the intensity of itching.

While the authors found data supporting the use of acupuncture for itchiness, they list several limitations of the evidence. They did not find a large amount of data on acupuncture and itching. They excluded many studies because researchers often don’t use consistent scales for rating itchiness.

The take-home message: The limited data available demonstrate that acupuncture is an evidence-based treatment for itchiness, but more clinical trials are needed to verify the result. In the meantime if you suffering from itchiness, you may want to give acupuncture a try.

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