Acupuncture and a cracking review paper

Going over the archives, Neil wrote this after finding a  review paper written by Professor Donald Marcus "Is Acupuncture for Pain a Placebo Treatment? An examination of the evidence".  First published in The Rheumatologist, it is open access - which means you can read the full paper for free. Acupuncture, some dodgy maths and a cracking review … [Read more...]

Acupuncture and awareness

We have just published the results of a small experiment looking at acupuncture in people with chronic low back pain (see here). Now that is not a sentence I thought I would ever write, so there is some explaining to do. Acupuncture is a common treatment for back pain and one that has been well researched. The outcome of this research effort is … [Read more...]

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...]

The Conversation acupuncture piece triggers a prickly debate

Neil OConnell and Lorimer Moseley just wrote this piece for The Conversation 'Acupuncture research – the path least scientific?' and it triggered some pretty heated debate - The Conversation stopped comments for fear of the abuse getting beyond what they see to be appropriate for the public space. It is indeed amazing to see how fired up and … [Read more...]

Breaking Research News – The sensory cortex is not a brick

acupuncture brick sensory cortex

Stuck record time for me again.  A new paper in BMC Neuroscience has demonstrated that electroacupuncture or acupressure induces changes in activity in the sensory cortex. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) researchers have demonstrated that these treatments are reflected in altered activity in the sensory cortex. They go on to conclude that … [Read more...]

Acupuncture, some dodgy maths and a cracking review paper

acu triallist

I have a challenge for you. Imagine you’re in ancient China and you’ve had this idea that health and disease hang on the flow of energy through invisible energy pathways called meridians that can be manipulated by applying needles in certain specific points. How do you go about systematically validating this theory? How do you know where the points … [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...]