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Is sinew acupuncture effective against osteoarthritis pain?

Sinew acupuncture has been observed to have almost immediate analgesic effects when used for soft tissue injuries. As per study protocols published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, scientists want to confirm the practice’s benefits in treating knee osteoarthritis (KOA).

  • Sinew acupuncture is a new modality of acupuncture.
  • Scientists want to conduct a randomized, sham-controlled, patient- and assessor-blinded trial that compares the effects of sinew acupuncture and sham acupuncture.
  • The study will involve 86 participants who will be randomized into either a sinew or sham acupuncture group. A physician and an experienced acupuncturist will qualify all participants.
  • The intervention will be performed by acupuncturists with a least three years of experience and conducted at the Hong Kong Tuberculosis Association Chinese Medicine Clinic cum Training Centre of the University of Hong Kong. There will be 10 sessions over four weeks, to be followed by a series of follow-ups over six weeks.
  • The primary outcome will be derived from a visual analog scale (VAS) score at week four.
  • The secondary outcomes will be derived from the Western Ontario and McMasters University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Timed Up & Go Test (TUG), 8-step Stair Climb Test (SCT), and the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36).

The scientists hope that the trial will help expand the understanding of the mechanisms behind sinew acupuncture’s effect on pain reduction and improvement of symptoms, bodily function, and quality of life.

Find the full text of the study protocol at this link.

Learn more about the health benefits of Chinese medicine at

Journal Reference:

Au KY, Chen H, Lam WC, Chong CO, Lau A, Vardhanabhuti V, Mak KC, Jiang F, Lam WY, Wu FM, et al. SINEW ACUPUNCTURE FOR KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS: STUDY PROTOCOL FOR A RANDOMIZED SHAM-CONTROLLED TRIAL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018;18(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-018-2195-8

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