New Study Concludes Acupuncture Is Bogus - Sorry

Personal Health

The legitimacy of acupuncture has been widely debated over the past several decades.  While many swear by its healing powers, others, most notably medical researchers, say it does not work for anything, period.

A new study published in the journal Cancer confirms the latter view, suggesting that any relief acupuncture may bring, is the result of a placebo effect and no better than ‘sham version’ used in a breast cancer drug study, Health Finder reported.

Researchers of the study followed 47 female cancer patients who were being treated with a breast cancer medication that caused menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and muscle pain.

23 of the women received eight weeks of acupuncture while the rest received eight weeks of “sham acupuncture” using retractable needles that do not pierce the skin, San Francisco Chroniclereported.

Interestingly, the results found that all patients reported a reduction in their side effects, whether using 'real' acupuncture or 'fake', particularly in the severity of hot flashes.

So how do we explain the improvement in both? Study author Ting Bao who led the study agreed that, “you could conclude it's a placebo effect.”

The phenomenon of a placebo effect is where people placed on inactive therapy appear to get better due to some psychological effect not grounded in treatment - it seems the mind is a powerful tool.

In this regard, scientists concede that the slight pricking of the skin could cause psychological changes, which adds to improvement.

In any event, Bao admits larger studies are also needed to see whether the procedure is better than doing nothing at all, concluding that there is no harm in trying it.

"The data are not definitive. Acupuncture as a medical procedure has been practiced for thousands of years.  It has a minimal risk and potentially significant benefits,” she said.

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