The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Electroacupuncture for urologic chronic pain

    Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndromes (UCPPS) refers to pain associated with the bladder (ie, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, IC/PBS) and the prostate gland (ie, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, CP/CPPS).

    Researchers from Kyung Hee University, in Seoul, Korea studied the effect of electroacupuncture.

    First, the details.

    • 39 men with this condition were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 weeks.
      • Group 1: advice + exercise + 12 sessions of electroacupuncture
      • Group 2, advice + exercise + 12 sessions of sham electroacupuncture
      • Group 3, advice + exercise alone
    • 6 acupuncture points were used to stimulate the sacral nerve and release the piriformis muscle (from the buttock to the top of the thigh bone [photo]) using an electrical pulse generator.
    • Symptoms were assessed using the NIH-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI).
    • Prostaglandin E(2)  levels in postmassage urine samples were also measured.

    And, the results.

    • At 6 weeks, pain-related symptoms decreased significantly in Group 1 (electroacupuncture) vs the other groups.
    • All patients receiving electroacupuncture experienced at least a 6-point decrease in the NIH-CPSI total score vs 2 patients with sham-electroacupuncture and 3  points in patients who received advice and exercise alone.
    • Prostaglandin E(2) levels significantly decreased in the electroacupuncture group, but increased in the other 2 groups.
      • High E(2) levels are associated with increased sensitivity to pain.

    The bottom line?
    The results are based on a very small group of patients. However, they are supported by earlier research.

    2008: University of Science, Malaysia

    • “After 10 weeks of treatment, acupuncture proved almost twice as likely as sham treatment to improve chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome symptoms.”

    2007: Columbia University Medical Center, New York

    • “Findings, although limited, suggest the potential therapeutic role of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.”

    A review of CAM for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, including acupuncture, from 2005 is here.

    6/7/09 15:41 JR

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