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Study Finds Acupuncture is More Effective Than Morphine for Pain


Every day in America, thousands of people seeking medical attention in emergency rooms are given morphine for pain. Is it possible that acupuncture, a well-tolerated natural intervention, can be more effective in relieving pain than this potentially lethal drug?

Morphine is a strong narcotic that can cause vomiting and dizziness, as well as abuse and addiction. It also has the potential to produce serious problems such as difficulty in breathing and an abnormal heartbeat.

Despite its risks, doctors often prescribe morphine to ease the suffering of patients in severe pain. Paradoxically, a 2016 animal study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found opioids like morphine actually increase and prolong chronic pain. A safer and more effective alternative to morphine is badly needed.

Acupuncture Beats Morphine for Pain

In the groundbreaking study conducted at the Emergency Department of Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia, acupuncture was shown to be more effective in relieving pain than morphine. Three-hundred emergency room patients were evaluated: half were administered acupuncture and half were administered up to 15 milligrams of intravenous morphine per day for pain.

Acupuncture was shown to be superior in both the degree and speed of efficacy. Among patients who received acupuncture, 92 percent obtained relief from pain. And those who received the morphine, 78 percent obtained relief. When the time required for pain reduction was measured, acupuncture was shown to work faster.

A comparison between the side effects of acupuncture and morphine was striking: Of the 300 patients in the study, 89 experienced mild adverse effects. Four were from the acupuncture group, and 85 were from the morphine group.

The authors concluded that it would be advisable to use acupuncture to relieve pain instead of morphine. “This should be considered especially in today’s increasingly complicated and polymedicated patients to avoid adverse drug reactions,” they said. The findings were published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Western Medicine is Recognizing the Value of Acupuncture

Although acupuncture has been used in China and other parts of Asia for centuries, in recent decades, it has gained acceptance and recognition in western countries. The skeptics who have scoffed at the concept that a needle inserted into the skin can produce health benefits have been shown to be wrong thanks to science.

In 1998, the World Health Association endorsed acupuncture based on numerous clinical trials that showed its value in treating a wide range of disorders, including depression, hay fever, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, nausea and pain in various parts of the body.

Certain segments of the populace — sometimes even those of us in the natural health community — have a tendency to think that natural treatments offer only marginal relief from maladies. The idea of an intervention producing the beneficial actions of a drug without any side effects seems simply too good to be true. For this reason, it seems startling to hear of studies finding natural alternatives shown to be just as effective as medication. Yet, as scientists have gained a greater interest in investigating alternative treatments in recent years, such discoveries are becoming more frequent. The recent study’s finding is a prime example.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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