HealthDay News — For patients with Parkinson’s disease, acupuncture is associated with improvement in gait function, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Shimpei Fukuda, PhD, from the Meiji University of Integrative Medicine in Kyoto, Japan, and colleagues examined the immediate effects of acupuncture on gait function in 27 outpatients with Parkinson’s disease. The acupuncture points used were bilateral legs, bilateral arms, posterior region of neck, and back. Acupuncture needles were inserted perpendicular to the skin surface to a depth of 10 mm. A portable gait rhythmogram was used to measure gait function.

The researchers observed significant increases in gait speed, step length, floor reaction force (all P < 0.001), and cadence (P = 0.007) after acupuncture. No adverse effects related to the therapy were reported.

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“Acupuncture can be a safe way to decrease gait disturbances,” the authors write. “Further studies on a set period of acupuncture treatment, as well as controlled comparative studies to exclude the placebo effect, are needed.”


Fukuda S, et al. Acupuncture for Gait Disturbance in Parkinson’s Disease: Immediate Effects of Acupuncture Treatment. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015; 63(10):2189-90.