Thursday, September 27, 2007

Study, News Report Confuse Effectiveness of Acupuncture

Does acupuncture work, or doesn’t it? An AP headline reads, “Study: Acupuncture works for back pain.” But when you click into the article you find that, “fake acupuncture works nearly as well as the real thing for low back pain.” Um, if the fake stuff has the same effect as the real stuff, then isn’t it all psychosomatic? That is, isn’t it just the mind that’s making things better?

First, let’s look at what they mean by “fake acupuncture.” Basically, when going the fake route, they inserted needles in the wrong places and wrong depths. Wrong compared to the “real” version, of course.

So scientists wonder whether or not any collection of pin pricks can “block” the pain. Still, I’m wondering, if the real thing works the same as the fake, can you say Acupuncture actually “works?”
When asked how acupuncture works, University of Maryland’s “director of complementary medicine,” Dr. Brian Berman said it works for reasons that can’t be explained in “Western terms.” Magic? According to the AP report, Berman feels acupuncture works by “changing the way the brain processes pain signals or by releasing natural painkillers in the body.” Um, if they can’t prove that using the scientific method, does that mean it’s magic? Or am I just being another arrogant Westerner?

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.