"From a scientific point of view, we demonstrated that 70 percent of patients had an effect of the treatment," Rosted said. "From a practical point of view, and that is the important thing, we demonstrated that it was possible to carry out the planned dental treatment in all patients."
Acupuncture, practiced in China for more than 2,000 years, is not a miracle treatment, Rosted said. "However, it has some advantages over other treatments. The treatment is safe, fast and cheap. In this study, the dentist could commence the dental treatment five minutes after insertion of the five needles."
Dr. Marshall H. Sager, a past president of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and an acupuncturist in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., was optimistic about the findings. "I believe the results of this preliminary study are wide-ranging and should encompass investigation into the use of acupuncture for all preoperative anxiety," he said.
Working with dental surgery patients, Sager said the effects of acupuncture are dramatic and beneficial to health. "My experience emphatically demonstrates that, when I administer acupuncture to patients prior to surgery, I am able to decrease their preoperative stress levels, causing them to be more relaxed so that they require less anesthesia during the surgical procedure."
Evidence shows that acupuncture helps release endorphins, which act not only as painkillers, but as sedatives, he added. "These opiate-like hormones, manufactured in the body, contribute to natural feelings of well-being and modulate anxiety," he said.
For more information on acupuncture, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
SOURCES: Palle Rosted, M.D., department of oncology, Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, England; Marshall H. Sager, D.O.
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