Acupuncture once more. A debate in Anesthesia and Analgesia.

We’ve covered acupuncture  a lot on BiM and regular readers will be in little doubt about my interpretation of the evidence. The weight of acupuncture evidence is consistent with an inactive intervention. To my mind further research is pointless (heh). It represents, as we argued in The Conversation recently, an increasingly desperate exercise in … [Read more...]

Location Location Location. Acupuncture and chronic shoulder pain – CAM or Sham?

Acupuncture points. Verum acupuncture: one to three locus dolendi (Ahshi) points; local and distal points according to the channel and the individual location of the pain: ventral – Lung 1, 2; ventrolateral – Large Intestine 4, 11, 14, 15; lateral – Sanjiao 5, 13, 14; dorsal – Small Intestine 3, 9, depth of needle insertion 1–2 cm. Sham acupuncture: 4 needles above the medial part of the left and right tibia, with depth of needle insertion less than 5 mm. Figure 1 from Molsberger AF, Schneider T, Gotthardt H, Drabik A. PAIN 2010 Oct; 151(1): 146-154. This figure has been reproduced with permission of the International Association for the Study of Pain® (IASP®). This may not be reproduced for any other purpose without permission.

Having written a number of posts on acupuncture (see here, here, and here) I guess my particular biases are reasonably apparent. So imagine my surprise when a large RCT published in the journal “Pain” reports a significant and substantial effect of Chinese acupuncture in comparison with sham acupuncture or conventional orthopaedic therapy for … [Read more...]

Acupuncture – the mysterious case of the missing razor

Acupuncture is all the rage in the treatment of pain. Recent clinical guidelines in the UK recommend it in the treatment of persistent back pain. This decision is somewhat controversial and has led to much discussion, because while the research in back pain suggests people feel somewhat better after acupuncture, it also demonstrates with clarity … [Read more...]

Acupuncture, Adenosine and Cycling Fish

You may have heard this story as it is all over the popular press right now. We are told that scientists have discovered some of the mechanisms underlying acupuncture analgesia. As always with alternative therapy reports the media have enthusiastically bitten off the hand of the press release (see this great account from the blog stuff and … [Read more...]

I love it when a plan comes together

Rebecca Erlewein

Here is an email I got from Rebecca Erlewein.  I love stories like hers because they show an impressive degree of self-awareness and they reveal, first hand, what I reckon is going on in the brain of many people who being to understand how complex pain REALLY is, and how complex we REALLY are, and how GROOVY the whole thing is.....Anyway, here are … [Read more...]

Neil OConnell on A Cup of weak Qi

Brain imaging studies are often both fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. They shine a light on activity patterns within the brain that occur during various aspects of behaviour, movement and perception. The problem comes when we try to negotiate the minefield of drawing conclusions. Acupuncture is a widely used and advocated treatment … [Read more...]

Nonsense in the media – acupuncture, pain and the brain

I hope that title got your attention. The Telegraph (UK) has just published a story on a brain imaging study of acupuncture for pain relief.  The article is titled: Acupuncture 'lessens pain in brain not body' Scientists discover acupuncture works by making the brain, rather than the body, no longer experience pain, according to new … [Read more...]