London: Patients with medically unexplained symptoms could greatly benefit from acupuncture, suggests a new research.
One in five patients has symptoms, which are undiagnosed by medicine, and the cost of treating them for the NHS is twice that as of a diagnosed patient.
A research team from the Institute of Health Services Research, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, carried out a randomised control trial and a linked interview study regarding 80 such patients from GP practices across London, to investigate their experiences of having five-element acupuncture added to their usual care.
They found that acupuncture had a significant and sustained benefit for these patients and consequently acupuncture could be safely added to the therapies used by practitioners when treating frequently attending patients with medically unexplained symptoms.
Dr. Charlotte Paterson, who managed the randomised control trial and the longitudinal study of patients`` experiences, commented: "Our research indicates that the addition of up to 12 five-element acupuncture consultations to the usual care experienced by the patients in the trial was feasible and acceptable and resulted in improved overall well-being that was sustained for up to a year.
She added: "Such intervention could not only result in potential resource savings for the NHS, but would also improve the quality of life for a group of patients for whom traditional biomedicine has little in the way of effective diagnosis and treatment."
The results of the research are published in the British Journal of General Practice.