From treating insomnia to easing symptoms of stress, regular acupuncture is believed to help cure a variety of ails. But there’s one area of health in particular where it’s more than likely a waste of time:
In a study of more than 800 women undergoing IVF treatment across Australia and New Zealand, half the participants received regular acupuncture and half underwent a fake alternative. This involved placing a non-invasive needle with a blunt tip away from traditional treatment points.
The researchers found a 0.5 per cent difference in the birth rate of women who received acupuncture (18.3 per cent) compared to the “sham” alternative (17.8 per cent.)
“These findings do not support the use of acupuncture to improve the rate of live births among women undergoing IVF,” the authors concluded.
“The likelihood of a live birth was not statistically different between the two groups after adjusting for age, number of previous IVF cycles and participating IVF centre.”
Still, professor of clinical research at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine and the study’s chief investigator Caroline Smith, said acupuncture might still be worthwhile for relaxation purposes.
“Some studies suggest reproductive outcomes may be improved when acupuncture is compared with no treatment,” she added.