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J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Jun;10(3):449-55.

Effect of acupuncture administered in a group setting on pain and subjective peripheral neuropathy in persons with human immunodeficiency virus disease.

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The Mind-Body Research Group, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.



The present study was performed to determine the effect of 5 weeks of acupuncture treatment in a group setting on pain and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)infected individuals.


Twenty-one (21) subjects completed the study that consisted of a pretreatment and post-treatment case series design. The subjects completed the Pain Rating Scale and the Subjective Peripheral Neuropathy Screen (SPNS) before and after 5 weeks of acupuncture. The acupuncture treatments occurred two evenings per week. Each of the 10 sessions consisted of participants receiving 10-15 needle insertions in acupoints that addressed the individual's changing pattern of pain, sleep problems, or other health issues. The treatment utilized only main or common points located below the elbows and knees, and on the head, neck, and ears. Only reactive points were used in the acupuncture treatments. Needles were left in situ for 30-45 minutes.


Comparison of the pretreatment and post-treatment Pain Rating Scale results indicated a significant reduction in present pain (p = 0.0002), least and most pain in the last 24 hours (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.0004, respectively) and the total pain summary score (p < 0.0001). Symptoms reported in the SPNS were reduced during the 5 weeks of acupuncture. Scores for pain/aching/burning, pins and needles, and numbness in the hands and feet were reduced (all significant at less than p = 0.0065), as well as the total summary score (p = 0.0001).


The results of this study indicate that subjective pain and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy were reduced during the period of individual acupuncture therapy delivered in a group setting. While the study design did not allow for control of nonspecific placebo factors, the data support the hypothesis that acupuncture in a group setting can reduce pain and neuropathic symptoms in HIV-infected individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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