mother and babyResearchers from Kaohsiung Medical University, in Taiwan, China compared acupuncture and electro-acupuncture to no treatment.

First, the details.

  • 60 women, who had had spinal anesthesia during cesarean section, were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • Acupuncture group
    • Electro-acupuncture
    • Control group: no treatment
  • After the operation, acupuncture or electro-acupuncture was applied on the bilateral acupuncture point, San Yin Jiao (Sp6).
  • The women controlled the use of their pain medicine.

And, the results.

  • Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture group delayed the time of requesting morphine by 10 to 11 minutes vs the control group.
  • The total dose of pain medicine used in the first 24 hours was 30% to 35% less in the acupuncture group and the electro-acupuncture group vs the control group — a significant difference.
  • There was no significant difference between the acupuncture group and the electro-acupuncture group.
  • Pain scores within the first 2 hours were statistically lower with either form of acupuncture vs the control group.
  • 2 hours later, there were no significant differences in the visual analogue scale (VAS) scores between treatment groups and the control group.
  • The incidence of opioid-related side effects, such as dizziness, was less in the acupuncture group and electro-acupuncture group than in the control group.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “This study shows that the application of acupuncture and electro-acupuncture could definitely delay the time of requesting pain relief medication after cesarean section and decrease the PCA doses used within the first 24 hours.”

This may be the first study of the effect of acupuncture after cesarean section on the use of pain medicine. My PubMed search revealed no other publications.

10/1/09 10:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.