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Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

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Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Scepcop » 03 Nov 2010, 20:10

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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Arouet » 03 Nov 2010, 20:44

This study was extremely small - 12 subjects. Not enough to determine anything. In bigger studies, where "real" acupuncuture was compared to sham acupuncture, there was no effective difference between the real and the sham. The study you linked needs to be replicated using a much bigger sample to have any weight. There have been lots of acupuncture studies, the vast vast majority showing that it is largely ineffective.

I'm sure I could dig up more stats if you want, but you rarely keep a conversation going once the results don't go your way. Let me know if you are interested and I'll do some digging.
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby The_Grand_Illusion » 15 Nov 2010, 08:06

I've used acupuncture several times with success each time. The effects aren't subtle.

The first time I had it done (or was it the second?) the needle in my left knee stimulated the magnetic field there to such a massive extent that when the acupuncturist tried to remove it, the needle wouldn't budge. The needles have nothing to physically cling to the skin with at all, but they can stimulate the body's magnetism, hence the needle "clinging" to my skin. This can't be a placebo effect and it's unlikely to be spontaneous "mind over matter" (a useless false dichotomy regardless) because I had no idea such an effect was even possible at the time, let alone any belief or expectation it would happen to me. As always, the treatment showed marked improvements in physical symptoms. I've found it particularly effective in treating sinus ailments surprisingly rapidly.

Thus, aside from the reading I've done, I can speak from experience that acupuncture works and is not merely reliant on the placebo effect, magic tricks, sleight of hand, venus, or any other whacky pseudo-explanation. The number of electronic devices developed to detect and treat the acupoints alone is support enough, but people seem to forget that the Chinese have been using it for over 5,000 years. That's not an accident.

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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Arouet » 15 Nov 2010, 09:19

Personal experience is fine, and I know some people who report great effects from acupuncture and others who found it useless. This still doesn't explain how study after study can't find a significant difference between real acupuncture and fake acupuncture.

I have absolutely no difficulty accepting alternative medicine. But it must be testable. If properly controlled tests show no difference then I have to conclude it is extremely unlikely that acupuncture actually does something more than placebo.

TGI: what do you conclude from these studies? Do you think they were flawed?
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby The_Grand_Illusion » 15 Nov 2010, 11:10

Arouet wrote:Personal experience is fine, and I know some people who report great effects from acupuncture and others who found it useless. This still doesn't explain how study after study can't find a significant difference between real acupuncture and fake acupuncture.

I have absolutely no difficulty accepting alternative medicine. But it must be testable. If properly controlled tests show no difference then I have to conclude it is extremely unlikely that acupuncture actually does something more than placebo.

TGI: what do you conclude from these studies? Do you think they were flawed?



I'd have to look at the studies and how they were done obviously, but if "study after study" finds no result then I'd suspect that the experimenters don't know what they're dealing with or perhaps how to quantify the effects of acupuncture. In my research over the past few years I've incidentally come across much material verifying the reality of acupuncture's effects and mechanisms (aside from my own experience), and I wasn't even looking for it. There's plenty of material emerging regarding the *mechanisms* underlying acupuncture (HOW it works), which I find far more interesting than the Westerner's 5,000-year-late search for whether it even works! That's where I'm coming from, which I realise is not where you're coming from. Because I know it works, I'm more interested in understanding HOW/WHY than seeking confirmation of the phenomenon's existence. Sort of like with psi phenomena: because I know the siddhis exist, I'm more interested in grasping exactly HOW they work, rather than looking for further confirmation of WHETHER they do (because that won't teach me anything new)! :)
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Arouet » 15 Nov 2010, 11:25

How 'bout this: if you will try to find the studies that support acupuncture, I'll try and find the studies that don't, and we can discuss!
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Craig Browning » 15 Nov 2010, 22:47

Let's see, it's been used for thousands of years with extreme success and MILLIONS of people from the East as well as the West have had nothing but positive end results with it since its introduction to the west... especially since the famed Nixon visit to China that popularized western curiosity in such.

I've had a very dramatic set of experiences with both, Acupuncture & Acupressure and for me at least, anyone that places their trust in a legit practitioner (someone that's spent the YEARS in training that's required vs. the Americanized "Instant Doc" type training) can and will see positive results... and before it's brought up, these PROFESSIONALS simply don't have the time or desire to play games with the non-believing cynic's society and their "prove it to me" B.S. they KNOW the science and art far better than such closed minds ever will and more importantly, they have a list of patrons that have known positive results that span generations... I've yet to see any of the detractors explain how this could be. Especially when Westernize medicine confirms the positive healing results... which is what happened with me; the American doctors wanted to cut, cut cut and "weld" things together when I screwed up my back 20+ years ago. But the Acupuncture, Massage and Herb based therapies I endured for a bit over a year's time not only had me back on my feet and invigorated but X-Rays couldn't find any indication of the "fractures" and related issues. It beats the hell out of being stoved-up with fused joints and the very real odds of not being able to walk or function again properly... which I've seen far too many times in the case of back injuries such as we are speaking of.

Acupuncture/pressure has a much stronger level of validity than any westernize cynic will ever willingly recognize... I dare to say, they could be on their death-bed and have successful treatments and would still deny the fact that IT WORKS!
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Arouet » 15 Nov 2010, 23:25

Craig Browning wrote:Let's see, it's been used for thousands of years with extreme success and MILLIONS of people from the East as well as the West have had nothing but positive end results with it since its introduction to the west... especially since the famed Nixon visit to China that popularized western curiosity in such.


I'm not sure how you make the statement: "nothing but positive results". In any event, this is an argument by popularity and is not acceptable to consider something to be effective. There are all sorts of things that people take that they swear by,including homeopathy, magnetic bracelets, crystals, etc.


I've had a very dramatic set of experiences with both, Acupuncture & Acupressure and for me at least, anyone that places their trust in a legit practitioner (someone that's spent the YEARS in training that's required vs. the Americanized "Instant Doc" type training) can and will see positive results...


This may very well be true. It may be that there is "good" acupuncture and "bad" acupuncture, and that the good acupuncture works and the bad one doesn't. This still doesn't change the fact that there seems to be a lot of "bad" acupuncture out there. If western "instant docs" are not properly trained and are just taking people's money. There is still a big problem

and before it's brought up, these PROFESSIONALS simply don't have the time or desire to play games with the non-believing cynic's society and their "prove it to me" B.S. they KNOW the science and art far better than such closed minds ever will and more importantly, they have a list of patrons that have known positive results that span generations... I've yet to see any of the detractors explain how this could be.


Well, then we're between a rock and a hard place aren't we? But I'm suspicious of anyone who says they just don't want to be tested. I have absolutely no problem accepting acupuncture as real and legitimate therapy. In fact, I hope it works - any effective therapies are great! But my test for whether it works is whether it passes scientific scrutiny. If alternative medicine really works, it should be testable just like any other medical treatments. Do you disagree Craig?

Especially when Westernize medicine confirms the positive healing results... which is what happened with me; the American doctors wanted to cut, cut cut and "weld" things together when I screwed up my back 20+ years ago. But the Acupuncture, Massage and Herb based therapies I endured for a bit over a year's time not only had me back on my feet and invigorated but X-Rays couldn't find any indication of the "fractures" and related issues. It beats the hell out of being stoved-up with fused joints and the very real odds of not being able to walk or function again properly... which I've seen far too many times in the case of back injuries such as we are speaking of.


If you were doing multiple modalities at the same time, how can you be sure what was causing you pain relief. Massage therapy can be very effective at pain relief. And again, acupuncture can do, via the placebo effect.

Acupuncture/pressure has a much stronger level of validity than any westernize cynic will ever willingly recognize... I dare to say, they could be on their death-bed and have successful treatments and would still deny the fact that IT WORKS!


Craig, we're talking about scientific trials here. Subjects reported the same results whether being given "real"acupuncture or "fake" acupuncture. This isn't about cynicism. There is no reason to treat acupuncture any differently than any other medical treatment. This goes for any kind of alternative treatment - if it works, it should be testable. If it doesn't produce results in solid scientific testing, then what conlcusion must we draw?
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby ProfWag » 16 Nov 2010, 00:40

Personal experience is about the best I can do with this topic. My wife has chronic back pain. Went to a Doctor of Accupuncture with 20+ years experience. The first time she went she SAID she felt better immediately and went back a few days later. Felt a little better again and went back a week later. Before the 4th time, I told her of my concerns and skepticality as I could tell from her movements that although she SAID she felt better, she didn't get out of her chair any quicker. No relief again the next time. To summarize, it appeared to be quite the placebo from my personal experience. Not saying I have evidence or proof that it doesn't work for anyone, but I could not recommend a friend or family member stake out their future health on its effectiveness.
I did see a well respected Doctor on TV say he witnessed open heart surgery in China using accupuncture as the patients anesthetic, but then again, the patient could have been given something without his knowledge as well, soooo back to square one...
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby derrida » 16 Nov 2010, 04:51

Craig Browning wrote:Let's see, it's been used for thousands of years with extreme success and MILLIONS of people from the East as well as the West have had nothing but positive end results with it since its introduction to the west... especially since the famed Nixon visit to China that popularized western curiosity in such.

my gosh.. that just means placebo does work
i want the best science can give me built upon blocks after blocks of try an error
not a system based on supposed chi energies developed on the bronce era.
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby TerrelT » 27 Apr 2011, 08:42

What if acupuncture wasn't effective 100% of the time? What if it worked 5% of the time and had no effect the other 95% of the time? It's hard to discredit someone who says that it worked for them. One could say that it is the placebo effect. Or could it be that many of the practicioners are not doing it correctly or are sham acupunturists? I'm not a firm believer but I would like to see these traditional medical practices tested more thoroughly. Are there any affordable health insurance plans that cover acupuncture or other ancient medical practices?

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Last edited by TerrelT on 30 Apr 2011, 10:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Acupuncture Proven to have an Effect beyond Placebo

Postby Arouet » 27 Apr 2011, 10:28

They've been tested pretty thoroughly. What do you think is missing from the testing so far?
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