Researchers at The National Institute of Complementary Medicine at Western Sydney University in Australia conducted a study to compare the efficacy of manual acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, at two timing intervals, for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. The researchers found that, in all cases, acupuncture leads to a significant reduction in the intensity and duration of menstrual pain after three months of treatment, and the results were sustained one year after trial entry.
The primary outcome of this study was the decrease in peak menstrual pain one year after trial entry. All groups showed a significant reduction in peak pain and duration of pain over time, and neither the mode nor frequency of treatment showed a stronger effect by the one-year follow-up. However, manual acupuncture provided more immediate pain reduction. “The proportion of responders with clinically significant pain reduction of 30% in their peak pain was highest in the high frequency- manual acupuncture group across all three days (55%, 60% and 61% of women respectively) and over a third of women in this group had a 70% reduction in their peak pain. Almost three-quarters (72%) of the women in the high frequency- manual acupuncture group had a clinically significant 30% reduction in their average pain, with 69% of the low frequency- manual acupuncture group, 61% of the low frequency- manual acupuncture group and the 47% of the high frequency- electro acupuncture group achieving this reduction. Almost 60% of the low frequency- manual acupuncture group and 55% of the high frequency- manual acupuncture group had a 50% reduction in average pain from baseline to one-month follow-up. The electro-acupuncture groups had lower scores, with 42% and 33% of the high frequency-electro acupuncture and low frequency- electro acupuncture groups achieving a 50% reduction.”