A randomized treatment-placebo study of the effectiveness of acupuncture for benign vocal pathologies

Edwin Yiu, Jie Jie Xu, Tom Murry, William I. Wei, Ming Yu, Estella Ma, Wei Huang, Elaine Yee-Lan Kwong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Acupuncture is a widely accepted treatment option for many medical ailments in China. Some reports claim that acupuncture is effective for treating dysphonia associated with benign pathological tissue changes. However, many of these reports are based on anecdotal evidence that lacks a scientific experimental design. The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of intensive acupuncture therapy for dysphonias associated with benign pathological changes with a randomized, control design. Twenty-four subjects aged between 19 and 51 years were randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a placebo group. The experimental group received acupuncture on acupoints Renyin (Stomach Channel 9), Lieque (Lung Channel 7), and Zhaohai (Kidney Channel 6), which are all related to improving throat problems and vocal function, whereas the placebo group received acupuncture on acupoints Houxi (Small Intestine Channel 3) and Kunlun (Bladder Channel 60), which are not related to voicing. All subjects received 10 intensive acupuncture sessions within a 20-day period. Acoustic analysis of voice range profile, perceptual analysis of voice quality, and self-perceptions of quality-of-life (QOL) measurement by patients were the outcome measures for determining treatment efficacy. Results revealed significant improvement in the treatment group in all three aspects when compared with the placebo group. The acupuncture effect was maintained into the second week after the completion of acupuncture treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Voice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative voice treatment
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Voice therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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