Monday, May 31, 2010

I would have given long odds against

It appears that there may be some actual benefits from acupuncture.

2 comments:

Miles said...

There seems to be pretty good evidence for acupuncture working better than a placebo for pain relief, however NOT for the reasons that acupuncturists say, and it doesn't cure disease or anything like that...

No doubt however the woo-woos will seize on this as evidence that complementary medicine works and is real.

I've had some amazingly heated arguments with otherwise rational people about the efficacy of alternative medicines. It's like religion - if you question it, people get bizarrely upset.

Curt Sampson said...

This is fantastic news, if it pans out. When we ask the woo-woo folks, "what would it take to get you to change your mind?" not only can we point out that we can and do and they don't, but we can point to a specific example.

As for complementary medicine, note that as soon as we figure out that it does work, how it works, and start using it in practice, it's not "complementary" any more, but part of the "traditional medical establishment." If this turns into a clinical procedure, it will bear less resemblance to current acupuncture than taking an aspirin does to gathering willow bark and making tea from it.

I also have to say I'm not all that surprised by this result. Unlike something like homeopathy or "laying on of hands" (which typically does not involve touching the patient), there's a clear physiological process going on here, and so it's not unreasonable that the body would react to that in some way.