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Acupuncture, To Placebo or Not To Placebo?

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posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:05 PM
Acupuncture efficacy may be plausible, even if not for the reasons believed in "Chinese medicine." Placing a needle, which is a foreign object, in the skin will stimulate the inflammatory response just as any other foreign object might. It's not unreasonable that the placement of a needle could stimulate some other physiologic response as well- how likely that may be I just don't know. Trust me, I'm a doctor (almost).

The expectation that a treatment will work is a powerful concept demonstrated many times throughout Western and other forms of medicine. Even if it's just the placebo effect, it can still be a very powerful one.

Note: I'm not saying acupuncture works or doesn't work, or advocating any specific theory on its mechanism . Just sayin' its efficacy isn't totally out of the realm of scientific possibility.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:08 PM
As a martial artist, I know there are pressure points. I'm by no means an expert and the arts I study, don't really go into them in great detail, but I've had other "masters" apply pressure to certain spots on the neck and arm that caused excruciating pain and caused me to go to the ground.

I've also had friends and family member have excruciating pain relieved by acupuncture.

Meaning this:

There really are pressure points and we know that acupuncture works on some people. Or maybe certain acupuncture procedures work on everyone and some only work on some people? We also know that there is a lot we don't know. It's okay to admit that. But to call acupuncture junk science is the height of ignorance. It requires more study.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:11 PM
a reply to: Eunuchorn

Your insurance covers it? Man ... you are lucky!

Back in 2010 when I first got really sick, it was very overwhelming for me and I was in the pits of despair and depression. I went to acupuncture for 6 weeks. It was $100 a shot. It didn't help the autoimmune but it seriously helped my mood stabilize. It was an instant massive difference in my mood and it felt like the baggage was lifted from my soul. It was absolutely amazing.

I remember the channels that she put the needles in and I know that she specifically hit the 'green liver' spots. I knew immediately when she did those .. instant change of energy.

When I went to the acupuncture it was because I was so distraught and nothing was working for me. I had absolutely no expectations. Once I did it ... I was instantly sold on it!! I would have kept going if it wasn't so expensive.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:18 PM
While I'm thinking of it, there are certain techniques used in Western medicine that are somewhat similar to acupuncture. For example, in a patient with tachycardia (very fast heart rate), gentle massaging of the carotid artery (while not always effective) stimulates certain nerves within the wall of that artery which activate a reflex arc in the brain to actually slow the heart down. I know it's not exactly the same premise, but similar enough in principle (stimulate a certain area to effect change in another area of the body).

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:18 PM
a reply to: Scouse100

i have shown lots of people how to cure headaches using acupressure and it has worked for them all .

if you inbox me and tell me how you are doing it , i may be able to tell you what your doing wrong because it is really quite a simple technique .

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:22 PM

originally posted by: GetHyped
a reply to: Scouse100

Sham acupuncture is one method (although not perfect, for obvious reasons). As it turns out, randomly poking people with needles has the same effect so if nothing else the entire explanatory mechanism behind it is bull#.

I believe there are mixed outcomes in studies using sham accupuncture as a placebo, some concluding that accupuncture gives the better result. As you say, it is not perfect and pretty much impossible to conduct a double blind study using this method due to the possiblity of the patient and/or practitioner knowing that the needles are going in the wrong place or feeling the difference between real and retractable needles.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:25 PM

originally posted by: tom.farnhill
a reply to: Scouse100

i have shown lots of people how to cure headaches using acupressure and it has worked for them all .

if you inbox me and tell me how you are doing it , i may be able to tell you what your doing wrong because it is really quite a simple technique .

Thanks I will do, although it hasn't worked so far I am very open minded

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:39 PM
I have a personal and positive experience with acupuncture that I'll share.

A few years ago, I went camping with a few friends. While tromping around on a rocky hillside I slipped and fell, striking my right elbow and the 'ol funny bone. It hurt pretty good and when I woke up the next morning I had no feeling whatsoever in the last two fingers of my right hand. My arm near my wrist was numb as well. It was quite debilitating and I was deeply concerned, but I figured I should give it a bit. I figured that the feeling would come back after the bruise healed, but it never did.
After about a month of suffering with this, I went to see a doctor. He diagnosed me with Ulnar Nerve entrapment and suggested surgery to re-route the nerve in my elbow. When I researched the symptoms on the Internet, I found a chart which showed the areas of the hand and arm that are affected by Ulnar Nerve entrapment. They were the exact same areas that were numb...
I have a friend who had the procedure done, in her case it helped. It was a bit pricey and left a nice scar. I then spoke with another person who had the procedure done, in his case it was not successful and he lost partial use of his hand.

After a bit of contemplation I decided against getting the surgery without trying a few alternatives first.
Years earlier, I had some good results with acupuncture, so I decided to give it another try. I made an appointment with a local acupuncture specialist, he recommended 3 sessions. The first session went well, but I didn't notice any improvement with my condition. Thought I should give it a few days for results, nothing.

The following week I went in for my 2nd session, I relayed to the doc that I hadn't seen any improvement.
This time he placed a needle in a spot that he hadn't in the first session, right in the palm of my hand.
Went home that afternoon, still no improvement.

Woke up the very next morning, had all my feeling back in my fingers and arm, have been fine ever since!
Never even went back for the third session...
I avoided an expensive and potentially damaging surgery and received fantastic results, all for $140.
You better believe I'm a believer

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:39 PM
I've read that there is a genetic component to placebo response. Look up the G-703T snp (I think that's it, I'll try to look it up when I get home from work). IIRC it's also associated with anxiety, ocd, and adhd.

Edit - I looked up the one I was thinking about: SNPedia page

Clearly, this is still inconclusive--but I'd be interested to see some additional studies on this.

edit on pmTuesdayp06pmAmerica/Chicago2806America/ChicagoTue, 10 Feb 2015 18:49:32 -0600 by alphaether because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 05:41 PM
Anybody addicted to tattoos can tell you about the needle high... the feeling when your brain releases a load of endorphins into your blood stream to counter the sting of the tattoo needle. Same thing, at a bare minimum of benefits, with accupuncture.

I will not insult traditional curatives, therapies, medicines, or treatments by comparing them in any way with the modern monopoly schemes run inside hospitals and doctor's offices. Those modern madhouses are wonderful... for treating one symptom while creating a list of frustrating, sometimes agonizing side effects (which they also have pills to "treat", along with whole new list of side effects.) Remember, the next time someone who is connected with modern medical science pooh-poohs a traditional or alternative treatment, modern medical science isn't far removed from considering shock treatment and lobotomies as standard operating procedure for anyone displaying mental issues (which were OFTEN misdiagnosed cases of epilepsy or vitamin deficiencies and food allergies), Thalidomide for morning sickness, and all other manner of quackery. Their high horse is established purely on the commercial mechanism that calls them "experts"... the problem is today's experts will be viewed as bumbling idiot sawbones by the next generation of *ahem* "experts."

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 06:42 PM
a reply to: sageturkey

Great story & example, turkey. It totally reminded me why I went to my current acupuncturist in the first place:

I was having severe pain in my left arm for 2 weeks from moving chairs around. She used magnet therapy, these very small tiny magnets taped onto various points on the fingers, one on each side of the pressure point. Each part of the finger affects different parts of the body through the nervous system. She left the magnets on during the acupuncture & cups & my arm pain was gone by the next day.

Chinese cupping is apparently becoming very popular among crossfit competitors lately, also.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 06:43 PM
a reply to: alphaether

I can't Google that gene atm, if you can post further info I would be extremely interested in it, as I suffer from the 3 maladies you listed.

posted on Feb, 10 2015 @ 07:31 PM
a reply to: Eunuchorn


rs4570625 aka G-703T is an SNP in the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 TPH2 gene.

There are too many abstracts to list in detail (not to mention I have a wild animal--I mean, a toddler--running around my house right now)... but here are a few that caught my eye on PubMed about this little gem and the potential uh, lovely traits (/sarc) being associated with it.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: PMID: 16146581

Bipolar Disorder: PMID: 17905754

Susceptibility to suicide: PMID: 17011525

Panic Disorder: PMID: 19132526

Personality Disorder and ADHD: PMID: 19894072

And its Influence on Response to treatment: PMID: 21396719

edit on pmTuesdayp07pmAmerica/Chicago2807America/ChicagoTue, 10 Feb 2015 19:35:24 -0600 by alphaether because: (no reason given)

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to see more studies on the influence of genes on the placebo effect. I found this study that seems to indicate that the COMT val158met polymorphism does affect the placebo response in IBS patients.

From the study:

In this study, we demonstrated that IBS patients homozygous for the COMT val158met methionine allele (met/met) were the most responsive to placebo treatment. Heterozygous (val/met) patients showed an intermediate response, and homozygous valine (val/val) patients showed essentially no placebo mediated symptom improvement. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate genetic modulation of true placebo effects disassociated from changes related to disease natural history and regression to the mean. It is also the first study to demonstrate a relationship between different levels of placebo treatment and COMT genotype.

edit on pmTuesdayp08pmAmerica/Chicago2808America/ChicagoTue, 10 Feb 2015 20:39:23 -0600 by alphaether because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 11 2015 @ 07:08 AM
Ok so here we go...

Sham science, or quack, or what ever else you want to call it, here are the facts, dispute if you what, but the studies are done and results are in.

1- WHO (World Health Organization) did studies on the subject, where it shows that for over 100 medical conditions acupuncture was more effective than the equivalent in western medicine, western placebo medicine, and placebo acupuncture (Putting random needles).

2- Before you can insert a needle into a person you must have a bachelors of health science, and a masters of oriental medicine from an accredited school.

3- Once you graduate from school, you have to pass 4 national board exams
a) Foundations
b) Herbs (Over 600 herbs and combinations)
c) Point Location (Over 500 points and their combinations)
d) Bioscience

4- Currently Hospitals are finding the benefits of acupuncture and they are integrating acupuncture in their regular treatments (Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center) are some of the 18 hospitals in the US currently that offers acupuncture.

5- Insurance are accepting acupuncture as a form of treatment.

I have been practicing acupuncture for over 2 years, I have seen over 4,000 patients, including my years in school, currently I'm booked 2 weeks ahead, and 80% of my patients are recurring. the average treatment is around 6 sessions.

My specialty is ED, and sports injuries. My wife is infertility and women health.

Is it a placebo effect? it could, but my believe is that your mind and body can heal everything, so if is me or you doing the work, what does it matter? you are getting.

Funny enough, 50% of western drugs efficacy is also placebo, so go figure.

Now, I know some people will go ahead and say something stupid like, well if I'm in a car crash can your needles help me?
NO - that's what the ER are there for, but I'll tell you what, if by any chance you know you can't get anesthesia, because you will not survive, then I might recommend that you look into sham medicine, because the placebo acupuncture might help the pain be a little more bearable...

I work once a week in a dentist office where we offer sedation via acupuncture.

Is acupuncture a placebo? Maybe, but if it is, god help it, because I'm helping more people with their conditions using placebo, that you are with the keyboard...

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