(HealthDay News) – For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acupuncture appears to improve dyspnea on exertion, according to a study published online May 14 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Masao Suzuki, PhD, from Kyoto University in Japan, and colleagues randomized 68 patients with COPD receiving standard medication in a 1:1 ratio to receive traditional acupuncture or placebo needling. Patients in both groups received needling at the same acupoints weekly for 12 weeks. The modified Borg scale score was assessed immediately after the six-minute walk test at baseline and following the 12 weeks of treatment.

The researchers found that, compared with the placebo group, in the traditional acupuncture group, the Borg scale score after the six-minute walk test was significantly better at 12 weeks (mean difference from baseline, −3.6 vs. 0.4). Improvement in the six-minute walk distance during exercise was experienced by patients with COPD who received traditional acupuncture.

“This study clearly demonstrates that acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in reducing dyspnea on exertion in patients with COPD,” the authors write.

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