Efficacy of Acupuncture and Moxibustion in Alopecia: A Narrative Review

    June 2022 in “ Frontiers in Medicine
    Andraia R. Li, Laura Andrews, Alexis Hilts, Manuel Valdebran
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    TLDR Acupuncture and moxibustion may help treat hair loss, but more research is needed.
    The review paper "Efficacy of Acupuncture and Moxibustion in Alopecia" explores the potential of these traditional Chinese medical practices in treating alopecia. The authors reviewed 8 studies from PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases, which included case-reports, observational studies, and clinical trials. The treatment sessions ranged from 3 to 50 with needle retention duration from 2 to 30 minutes. The most commonly targeted acupoints were ST 36, GV 20, and LR 3. The review suggests that acupuncture and moxibustion might be effective treatments for alopecia, but further research is needed to confirm these findings and understand the underlying mechanisms. The review also cites several studies and case reports, including randomized controlled trials, which found that traditional acupuncture combined with other treatments had higher cure rates than common alopecia treatments. However, the majority of studies did not evaluate acupuncture alone, and the topic remains understudied in Western medicine. Despite the limitations of the studies, clinical improvements in hair loss were observed across all articles. The review concludes that acupuncture warrants further exploration and future research should focus on comparing the efficacy of acupuncture alone to current first-line treatments for alopecia.
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