I am happy to report that Associate Professor Caroline Smith, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine at the University of Western Sydney, recently won the inaugural Award for Translational Research at the National Institute of Complementary Medicine’s symposium in Brisbane. This is a major award and she earned it for her pioneering clinical research into acupuncture techniques for women.
One of her research articles, Does Acupuncture Have a Place as an Adjunct Treatment During Pregnancy? summarized the evidence examining the effectiveness of acupuncture during pregnancy and birthing, and discussed its role as an adjunct treatment.
Professor Smith conducted a systematic literature search using several electronic databases and included all placebo-controlled randomized trials of parallel design, and systematic reviews that evaluated the role of acupuncture during pregnancy and birthing.
Their results concluded that a small but growing body of acupuncture research suggests that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea during pregnancy. Their findings also highlighted promising evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture to manage back and pelvic pain, acupuncture-type interventions to induce change in breech presentation, and pain relief in labor. The study concluded that there is a growing interest in the use of acupuncture to treat some complaints during pregnancy and childbirth, and evidence is accumulating to support the finding that acupuncture may assist with the management of some complaints during pregnancy. However, definitive conclusions about its effectiveness cannot be reached and further research is justified.
The prize is designed to recognize complementary medical techniques that improve health outcomes and further the national research and innovation agenda.
“I’m thrilled to have won the award, and for my work to be acknowledged by my peers and other experts,” Associate Professor Smith says. “Many women are reluctant to take medication while they are pregnant, which meant that in the past they didn’t have anywhere to turn to for relief.”
Associate Professor Smith has attracted international acclaim for her clinical research and summaries of evidence regarding complementary therapies to treat morning sickness and labor pain.
University of Western Sydney Press Release
Smith, Caroline A.; and Cochrane, Suzanne. “Does Acupuncture Have a Place as an Adjunct Treatment During Pregnancy? A Review of Randomized Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews” Birth, Vol. 36, # 3,9,2009:246-253(8)