Needles more than pills do it

Well whadaya know? As a fan of acupuncture for the last three years, this BBC article about research involving over 1,100 patients caught my eye –

Acupuncture is more effective at treating back pain than conventional therapies, research suggests.

A German study found almost half the patients treated with acupuncture needles felt pain relief that lasted for months.

In contrast, only about a quarter who received drugs and other Western therapies felt better.

There were three target groups in the study – those receiving conventional industrial medicine; those receiving acupuncture; and, those receiving a sham version of acupuncture. Interestingly, significantly more of both the real and sham acupuncture patients reported concerted improvements in symptoms. The results: 47% acupuncture; 44% sham; and, 27% industry pills. Could this be attributable to the hands-on human attention received by the sham patients, compared to that from the pill-popping-prescribing doctors?


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