Thursday, December 11, 2008

Acupuncture again

I wrote a while back about my husband getting a couple of acupuncture treatments for pain. One worked really well and the next not so well. He had a serious problem in his neck that acupuncture wasn't going to cure, but the fact he got some pain relief for a while, until he had surgery, is terrific. He also quit smoking more than 25 years ago as a result of a single acupuncture treatment. I underwent acupuncture myself recently when I had a bout of pretty crippling back pain. In conjunction with some therapeutic massage, it worked.

Today the Washington Post ran an article saying 38% of adults use alternative medicine. It goes on to quote someone from the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, who says, "Acupuncture is a placebo. Homeopathy is one step above fraud...The fact that they are so widely used is evidence for how gullible large segments of our society are." Huh. Hmmm. My choices for pain relief were drugs and/or a cortisone shot. Which might or might not work. I took a chance on the acupuncture, sure, but it wasn't drugs pouring into me.

If you read the article, make sure you read the comments as well. There are a lot of believers out there and, as I say, thousands of years of Chinese medicine can't be wrong.


Anonymous said...

"Thousands of years of Chinese medicine can't be wrong."

Argument from antiquity. Just like the flat earth theory, geocentric universe model, or God causing disease (as opposed to germs). Hey, they were pretty old too, guess they're not wrong either.

Kathleen Stocker said...

I suppose you could make that argument, but the way I see it is that the theories you've mentioned have all been proved wrong but so far, that's not been true for acupuncture.

Anonymous said...

Actually now that people have found a way to do fake acupuncture it is continuously being discredited. Here's one such study for example:

Kathleen Stocker said...

And here's another. A 2007 Archives of Internal Medicine article: The superiority of both forms of acupuncture [what the study calls verum and sham] suggests a common underlying mechanism that may act on pain generation, transmission of pain signals or processing of pain signals by the central nervous system and that is stronger than the action mechanism of conventional therapy, the authors conclude. Acupuncture gives physicians a promising and effective treatment option for chronic low back pain, with few adverse effects or contraindications. The improvements in all primary and secondary outcome measures were significant and lasted long after completion of treatment.