Glaucoma is a common eye disease which, if left untreated, may cause blindness. Although there are numerous treatments such as glaucoma drainage devices, incision surgery, and even laser therapy, glaucoma is a chronic disease that requires continuous care to manage the condition. It may take a psychological, emotional, and physical toll on patients. This why glaucoma sufferers may seek alternative or complementary medicine to support conventional treatments.
Numerous studies point to acupuncture as an effective treatment to manage glaucoma and prevent further loss of vision. Acupuncture practitioners treat disorders based on the flow of Qi (energy) by stimulating specific acupoints on the skin. Our highly qualified practitioners at our clinics in Hamilton and Remuera, Auckland can use acupuncture to help treat glaucoma effectively.
Open-angle Glaucoma and Pricking Blood at Ex-HN 9
There are different acupoints on the body that correspond to different organs and body functions. One such acupoint is the Neiyingxiang (Ex-HN 9) located in the nostril. Pricking blood at Ex-Hn 9 is a modified acupuncture technique known to relieve pressure, hypersensitivity, and congestion. In a study by Huo et al., (2009), the authors used disposable acupuncture needles to reduce intraocular pressure and consequently treat open-angle glaucoma.
The researchers divided their 96 participants (diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma) into a control group (56 patients) and an observational group of 44 patients. The latter were treated with 0.5% Timolol Maleate eye drops, which is a conventional treatment for the condition, while the observation group were treated with pricking blood at Ex-HN 9. The outcome of the study was the change in intraocular eye pressure after the treatments.
The findings revealed a significant reduction in intraocular pressure in both groups – a 6.63 mmHg and 6.06 mmHg reduction in the observation and control groups respectively. From this study, we can conclude that pricking blood at Ex-HN 9 is just as effective as conventional treatments, if not more so.
Acupuncture may work quickly
So acupuncture is effective at reducing intraocular pressure, but how long does it take to record significant results? In a 2011 study published in the journal of Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion, Liu et al. conducted a comparatively small study that answers this question.
The objective of Liu and his team of researchers was to find an effective and simple approach to stabilise and control intraocular pressure among glaucoma patients. As their findings revealed, the ‘effective and simple’ approach they sought turned out to be acupuncture. The study started by measuring the intraocular pressure of 39 patients with glaucoma and later administering acupuncture treatment at various acupoints including Qiuhou (EX-HN 7), Jingming (BL 1), Cuanzhu (BL 2), and Sibai (ST 2).
The response of the patients was observed and monitored over a 24 hour period to determine the change in the intraocular pressure. Within this prescribed period, the diurnal intraocular pressure variation significantly reduced from 7.06 mmHg to 5.31 mmHg (P<0.05). The team of scientists concluded by recommending acupuncture as an alternative treatment to improve vision function of glaucoma patients by stabilising 24-hour diurnal intraocular pressure variation and reducing intraocular pressure.
Huo, Q., Shen, Q., Zhang, D. M., & Zhang, R. T. (2009). Effect of pricking blood at Neiyingxiang (EX-HN 9) on the intraocular pressure of patients with primary open angle glaucoma. Zhongguo Zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion, 29(8), 629-630.
Liu, W., Yang, G., Zhao, X. J., Song, Y. G., Liu, T., Chai, P. P., & Zhao, X. Y. (2011). Impact of acupuncture on 24 h intraocular pressure of glaucoma. Zhongguo Zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion, 31(6), 518-520.
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