Science Junkie
Acupuncture Is Theatrical Placebo
Pain is a big problem. If you read about pain management centers, you might think it had been solved. It has not. And when no effective treatment exists for a medical problem, it leads to a tendency to clutch at straws. Research has shown that acupuncture is little more than such a straw.Although it is commonly claimed that acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it has not always been popular, even in China. For almost 1000 years, it was in decline, and in 1822, Emperor Dao Guang issued an imperial edict stating that acupuncture and moxibustion should be banned forever from the Imperial Medical Academy.1Acupuncture continued as a minor fringe activity in the 1950s. After the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communist Party ridiculed Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, as superstitious. Chairman Mao Zedong later revived Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966.2 The revival was a convenient response to the dearth of medically trained people in postwar China and a useful way to increase Chinese nationalism…Acupuncture was essentially defunct in the West until President Nixon visited China in 1972. Its revival in the West was largely a result of a single anecdote promulgated by journalist James Reston in the New York Times5 after he had acupuncture in Beijing for postoperative pain in 1971. Despite his eminence as a political journalist, Reston had no scientific background and evidently did not appreciate the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, or the idea of regression to the mean.After Reston’s report, acupuncture quickly became popular in the West. Stories circulated that patients in China had open heart surgery using only acupuncture.6 The Medical Research Council (UK) sent a delegation, which included Alan Hodgkin, to China in 1972 to investigate these claims, about which they were skeptical. The claims were repeated in 2006 in a British Broadcasting Corporation TV program, but Simon Singh (author of Fermat’s Last Theorem) discovered that the patient had been given a combination of 3 very powerful sedatives (midazolam, droperidol, fentanyl) and large volumes of local anesthetic injected into the chest. The acupuncture needles were purely cosmetic.Curiously, given that its alleged principles are as bizarre as those on any other sort of prescientific medicine, acupuncture seemed to gain somewhat more plausibility than other forms of alternative medicine. As a result, more research has been done on acupuncture than on just about any other fringe practice.The outcome of this research, we propose, is that the benefits of acupuncture are likely nonexistent, or at best are too small and too transient to be of any clinical significance. It seems that acupuncture is little or no more than a theatrical placebo. The evidence for this conclusion will now be discussed. Full Article
Images: [x][x]

Acupuncture Is Theatrical Placebo

Pain is a big problem. If you read about pain management centers, you might think it had been solved. It has not. And when no effective treatment exists for a medical problem, it leads to a tendency to clutch at straws. Research has shown that acupuncture is little more than such a straw.

Although it is commonly claimed that acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, it has not always been popular, even in China. For almost 1000 years, it was in decline, and in 1822, Emperor Dao Guang issued an imperial edict stating that acupuncture and moxibustion should be banned forever from the Imperial Medical Academy.1

Acupuncture continued as a minor fringe activity in the 1950s. After the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communist Party ridiculed Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture, as superstitious. Chairman Mao Zedong later revived Traditional Chinese Medicine as part of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966.2 The revival was a convenient response to the dearth of medically trained people in postwar China and a useful way to increase Chinese nationalism…

Acupuncture was essentially defunct in the West until President Nixon visited China in 1972. Its revival in the West was largely a result of a single anecdote promulgated by journalist James Reston in the New York Times5 after he had acupuncture in Beijing for postoperative pain in 1971. Despite his eminence as a political journalist, Reston had no scientific background and evidently did not appreciate the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, or the idea of regression to the mean.

After Reston’s report, acupuncture quickly became popular in the West. Stories circulated that patients in China had open heart surgery using only acupuncture.6 The Medical Research Council (UK) sent a delegation, which included Alan Hodgkin, to China in 1972 to investigate these claims, about which they were skeptical. The claims were repeated in 2006 in a British Broadcasting Corporation TV program, but Simon Singh (author of Fermat’s Last Theorem) discovered that the patient had been given a combination of 3 very powerful sedatives (midazolam, droperidol, fentanyl) and large volumes of local anesthetic injected into the chest. The acupuncture needles were purely cosmetic.

Curiously, given that its alleged principles are as bizarre as those on any other sort of prescientific medicine, acupuncture seemed to gain somewhat more plausibility than other forms of alternative medicine. As a result, more research has been done on acupuncture than on just about any other fringe practice.

The outcome of this research, we propose, is that the benefits of acupuncture are likely nonexistent, or at best are too small and too transient to be of any clinical significance. It seems that acupuncture is little or no more than a theatrical placebo. The evidence for this conclusion will now be discussed.

Full Article

Images: [x][x]







  1. chad-harris reblogged this from xjayc13x
  2. 3nding reblogged this from unoetrino
  3. unoetrino reblogged this from unoetrino
  4. refkins reblogged this from science-junkie
  5. usarrrmatey reblogged this from science-junkie
  6. ecaonline reblogged this from science-junkie
  7. supercuddlypuppies reblogged this from afightagainstentropy
  8. blasphemous-bones reblogged this from science-junkie
  9. epb45 reblogged this from science-junkie
  10. med-sci-land-art reblogged this from science-junkie
  11. randomness-is-rampant reblogged this from science-junkie
  12. vi4i reblogged this from science-junkie
  13. mlgoforth reblogged this from science-junkie and added:
    This article is clearly biased. Acupuncture is a licensed medical practice in the United States, just like a Medical...
  14. loyaltyequalsfrustration reblogged this from science-junkie
  15. buddyfrizzell reblogged this from science-junkie
  16. biobrit reblogged this from science-junkie
  17. kalciumsmith reblogged this from science-junkie
  18. narcotic-falcon reblogged this from science-junkie
  19. villianblog reblogged this from science-junkie
  20. reformedorthodox said: The ‘science’ behind it seems hokey, at best. However, for myself and thousands of other veterans who have chronic pain, the evidence is not in the clinical. It is in actual pain management. Experiments can’t tell me how I really feel.
  21. pinkpiratepunk reblogged this from science-junkie