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Acupuncture Works - Proof in largest study to date

The largest study of acupuncture for chronic pain compares real acupuncture vs placebo vs. other treatments for pain relief and what they find is that acupuncture's effectiveness rate is 50%, placebo is 43% and other treatments is 30%.

So naturally the headlines are that acupuncture is only marginally more effective than placebo, which makes me wonder how people interpret information.

First of all, there is no such thing as "sham acupuncture" as far as I'm concerned. All of these supposed placebo treatments such as using a laser on acupuncture points or misplacing a needle by a couple of millimeters is NOT placebo. Lasers treatments are already used for pain relief and not hitting the exact acupuncture point still produces an effect on the body. So yes, these "placebo treatments" do have a physiological effect! Also, one has to wonder why placebo works 13% better than the other treatments group? Why doesn't anybody talk about that point?

The headlines from CNN and other news agencies should just read: Acupuncture works! To quote the lead author of the study Andrew J. Vickers, who works at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York "Most clinicians and patients would say a 50% success rate versus a 30% success rate for something like intractable chronic pain is actually pretty good".

I agree!

Yours in Health,
Ian Koo, ND

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