Wound-healing effect of acupuncture for treating phonotraumatic vocal pathologies: A cytokine study

Edwin M.L. Yiu, Karen M.K. Chan, Nicole Y.K. Li, Raymond Tsang, Katherine Verdolini Abbott, Elaine Kwong, Estella P.M. Ma, Fred W. Tse, Zhixiu Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives/Hypothesis Acupuncture is a less-invasive procedure when compared with surgical treatment for benign vocal pathologies caused by vocal overuse. This study aimed to determine the wound-healing effect of acupuncture in treating phonotraumatic vocal fold lesions. Study Design Two-way, mixed-model, between- and within-subjects, prospective randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded group design. Methods Seventeen dysphonic individuals with vocal nodules were recruited from a university clinic in Hong Kong. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive one session of either genuine or sham acupuncture. The genuine acupuncture group (n = 9) received needles puncturing nine voice-related acupoints for 30 minutes, whereas the sham acupuncture group (n = 8) received blunted needles stimulating the skin surface of the nine acupoints for the same frequency and duration. Laryngeal secretions were suctioned from the surface of the vocal folds immediately before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the acupuncture. The protein concentration levels of wound-healing-related cytokines (interleukin [IL]-1β and IL-10) in these secretion samples were measured. Results Following acupuncture, a significant increase in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was found in the genuine acupuncture group (n = 9) but not in the sham acupuncture group (n = 8). Conclusions The findings showed that acupuncture of voice-related acupoints facilitated an anti-inflammatory process in phonotraumatic vocal pathologies. This could be considered as supporting evidence to consider acupuncture as a less-invasive alternative option, when compared to surgery, for treating phonotraumatic vocal pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E18-E22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • alternative treatment
  • anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture
  • cytokine study
  • laryngology
  • Voice problems
  • voice therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Wound-healing effect of acupuncture for treating phonotraumatic vocal pathologies: A cytokine study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this