What is Acupuncture and what does it do?
Acupuncture is a system of health care that has been developed, refined, and practiced in China for over the past 4,000 years. It involves the superficial insertion of hair-thin needles into points on the body that have been proven to relieve pain and disease. In ancient times, acupuncture (along with herbal medicine) was used as the primary method of treating injuries and illness. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years for one simple reason….it works very well. Nowadays, most people come to an acupuncturist for medical problems that do not respond well to western medicine (ie. Drugs, surgery, pain killers, etc.).
How much of acupuncture is due to the “placebo effect”? Do I have to believe in it for it to work?
That’s a good question and many scientific studies have been done on this topic. While many studies say that acupuncture is a legitimate medical therapy, many also say that it is no better than a placebo. It depends on who funded the study, the skill level of the hired acupuncturist, and how it was conducted. What form of placebo was used (there are many kinds) and what kind of treatment outcomes were measured against the control group? Please remember that the “double-blind” experimental model used in American research was designed specifically for researching pharmaceutical drugs, not therapeutic services such as acupuncture. It’s like trying to use a stethoscope to measure the tire pressure in your car…it wasn’t meant for that and you won’t get accurate information.
Another problem with research studies is that acupuncture is just like any other form of skilled labor (i.e.: carpentry)…you have a huge variance in skill and quality depending upon the craftsperson and the quality of work they do.
Learn more About Acupuncture in our Acupuncture FAQs page.