Marsha Haller, MD________________________Medical Acupuncture

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This website is meant to be used both by lay people and physicians and other health care professionals seeking to increase their knowledge about acupuncture and related techniques.  My hope is that may serve as a resource to patients and medical providers interested in exploring non-western or non-conventional treatment options .

I have created this website with the aim of providing practical information about acupuncture as well as access to the ever expanding body of basic science and clinical research in acupuncture.   
I hope you will find this site useful, and I invite you to provide me with feedback on how it might better suit your needs.

-Marsha Haller, MD
PS: I just came back from the 2015 Conference of the Society for Acupuncture Research in Boston.  SAR's 2015 conference was designed to be an innovative event where emphasis on the theme, “Reaching across Disciplines to Broaden the Acupuncture Research Network,” culminated in a day of programming hosted with two other organizations: the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) and the Fascia Research Society (FRS).What an inspiration to hear about the incredible research being done on biological mechanisms of acupuncture using advanced neuroimaging techniques as well as research on clinical applications!!! 
Read more about it from the Society for Acupuncture Research
 ACUPUNCTURE BRIEFS: summaries of recent articles 
2014 and 2015 have seen the publication of several important articles on acupuncture and acupuncture related techniques.  Here are a few choise items hot off the press:
Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial

I am a huge fan of the Alexander Technique, a gentle, but effective system that teaches posture and body awareness.  I take lessons myself and recommend it often to my patients, so I was thrilled to see this study from England that was published November 3, 2015, and in the Annals of Internal Medicine no less! 

Patients with chronic neck pain who received either acupuncture or an equivalent amount of Alexander lessons in addition to their usual care (medication and physical therapy) did better than those who received only the usual care.  In fact, 12 months after their treatments, the Alexander and acupuncture recipients still had significantly less pain and a greater sense of "self-efficacy", or ability to manage their own condition.  How cost effective is that?  

In my own practice I have found the combination of acupuncture and Alexander to be particularly effective in preventing re-injury due to poor posture. I'd love to see a study combining these two techniques.  to read the abstract

 Acupuncture and moxabustion found effective for lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).

A 2014 systematic review of 19 randomized controlled trials from around the world that compared acupuncture to conventional treatment (corticosteroid injection or NSAID medication) or to "sham acupuncture" (fake acupuncture used as a control for the sake of experimental protocol) concluded that " Acupuncture may be effective in the relief of lateral elbow pain for up to six months."  This is particularly significant when you consider that to date, there is actually no evidence of long term efficacy for steroid injection or NSAID medication in the treatment of this condition, nor evidence showing efficacy of physical therapy for lateral epicondylitis, even though these are all commonly utilized (and reimbursed) therapies! Read the abstract or full article

Meta-analysis shows current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in the treatment of osteoarthritis 

In another recent review of the literature analyzed the results 12 randomized controlled trials (1763 participants in all) comparing acupuncture with no treatment, usual care and sham acupuncture. The found that osteoarthritis patients treated with acupuncture had less pain, and improved functional mobility and quality of life.  This kind of "meta-analysis" is important because individual trials on acupuncture and alternative treatments tend to be small in size for a variety of reasons, which makes them easier to dismiss. When the results of multiple studies on the same condition are considered as a whole, the conclusions carry more weight.  Read the full article on osteoarthritis

Your comments and questions

  Marsha Haller MD,  Medical Acupuncture
3031 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 241
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 549-2037
(510) 549-2690 FAX
The material contained on this website is meant to be used as general information and should not be taken as individual medical advice on treatment for a specific patient or problem.