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Possible Cause of Relief from Acupuncture Found

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posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
Obviously, there is no mystical energy flowing through us, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be a completely mundane, but overlooked, explanation, which a reduction in inflammation most certainly would be.


Nice thread.

However, I do want to point out that all "mystical" energy is, is something science has not yet quantified. Its only "mystical" because we cant quantify it, and once we quantify it, it ceases to be mystical.

There is no huge gulf between science and mysticism, in fact if you do your homework you will find the one is the parent of the other. The line between them is a fine one.




posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:23 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


I understand that, but it's fallacious. We HAVE begun to quantify what is changing during acupuncture: the inflammatory response. We also know what modulates the inflammatory response (a cascade involving dozens, if not hundreds, or chemokins, cytokines, and other cell signaling molecules).



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:32 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
[

I wouldn't go that far. Even sufficiently advanced technology or obscured biological processes have precursors we can draw upon to formulate rough hypotheses. Very few technological and biological discoveries are made de novo.


I actually had to look up what de novo meant because I dont speak latin lol, but say you took an isolated jungle tribe that has had no contact with the modern world and showed them a flash light. They would call that magic. Advanced technology or something we can't yet explain is always chalked up as some type of magic. I see you doing a bit of the same.

Have an open mind and one day you will experience it. If you come to Boston, I would love to give you your first treatment. Feel free to u2u me if you ever make it out here.I find reiki works whether you believe it or not. I didn't believe when I had my first treatment and the healing I experienced changed my life.

Stay well my friend.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:43 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
What medical science is now finding, though, is that the pain relief has nothing to do with extrinsic, magical energy sources but instead with intrinsic biochemical pathways related to stress and inflammation. Which do you think is more likely, that there's a stream of magical, invisible energy in us that modulates every aspect of your being (which can't be proven or verified in any way), or that the innate immunologic mechanisms of the body can be manipulated (which CAN and HAS been proven and verified)?



I always wonder why people who love science, who are often so bright, can sometimes be so dense.

Why cant you see that "meridians" (their word) are the "pathways" (your word)
and the "chi" (their word) may be your "biochemical processes" (your word.)

They couldnt be proven "in any way," because we didnt have the technology. Now we do. Why get so hung up on words?

Besides, I think YOU are mistaking correlation and causation. Remember what Popper said about science "proving" things. In truth, science tells us what DOESN'T cause something. There is still always the possibility of a "hidden variable" as the true cause, and science really cant say with certainty what "causes" a thing, (though in its arrogance it often does.)

en.wikipedia.org...


. Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. The term "falsifiable" does not mean something is false; rather, that if it is false, then this can be shown by observation or experiment. Popper's account of the logical asymmetry between verification and falsifiability lies at the heart of his philosophy of science.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:51 PM
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reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 


And why is it more "right" to call that cascade the long list you used, as opposed to "chi?"

"Blood" is a mixture of many things as well, we dont get our panties in a twist because we call it "blood" rather than listing all the ingredients separately, do we? We could insist that people know and list all the different types of cells, but we dont. So why get all uppity because the process you are describing has a different name in other circles?



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by bringthelight
 


I understand what you mean by explaining unknown or "unexplainable" phenomenon by saying they are "magic" (in a sense), but I just don't think that applies in this situation. To suggest that there is an unmeasurable, untestable force that controls illness and health would require a new set of physical and biological laws. As it stands, I've seen nothing in medicine nor the human body that defies conventional science. There is a huge gap between seeing something that isn't fully understood and seeing something that defies the known laws of nature.

And yes, I will certainly let you know if I'm ever in Boston. As I said in this thread (or maybe it was another, they seem to run together lately), I'm not averse to alternative therapies, I just can't, in good conscience, prescribe them to my patients in lieu of proven therapies.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:07 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander


I always wonder why people who love science, who are often so bright, can sometimes be so dense.

Why cant you see that "meridians" (their word) are the "pathways" (your word)
and the "chi" (their word) may be your "biochemical processes" (your word.)


They aren't the same because the properties ascribed to them are not the same. Biochemical processes are measurable, logical, and conform to the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. The concept of meridians and chi, as they exist in the Chinese tradition, do none of these. IF someone wanted to take what is essentially known biochemistry and call it "chi", that's absolutely fine with me. But if they then say that they can cure all ills by using needles or herbs to manipulate this "chi", then I (and science) have a problem.


They couldnt be proven "in any way," because we didnt have the technology. Now we do. Why get so hung up on words?


Again, what the others in this thread are calling "chi" is wholly unlike biochemistry.


Besides, I think YOU are mistaking correlation and causation. Remember what Popper said about science "proving" things. In truth, science tells us what DOESN'T cause something. There is still always the possibility of a "hidden variable" as the true cause, and science really cant say with certainty what "causes" a thing, (though in its arrogance it often does.)


Luckily, Popper doesn't practice medicine. Experimentation can absolutely prove a negative. If you come to me with an infection, I can do one of two things (for simplicity's sake, we'll keep it to two for now). I can give you a lone beta-lactam antibiotic (related to penicillin) or give you the same beta-lactam antibiotic with a beta-lactamse inhibitor. Now, if I give you the first one and your infection doesn't clear up, I have just proven that your particular infection is both NOT a gram positive bacterium and DOES have beta-lactamase activity. I can then give you the second regimen, which when the infection clears, will show that your bacteria WAS gram negative.

So, this short experiment both proved a negative and a positive. There ar eno conceivable hidden variables, as the molecules I gave you as treatment are specific for the penicillin binding proteins in the bacterial cell wall (beta-lactam's target) and for the beta-lactamase protein (beta-lactamase inhibitor's target).

What Popper was driving at isn't that you can never prove something fully, but rather that you should always leave a theory open to change. We are constantly revising theories of evolution, medicine, etc. That doesn't mean, however, that we should consider possiblities that defy laws of physics.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:09 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 


And why is it more "right" to call that cascade the long list you used, as opposed to "chi?"

"Blood" is a mixture of many things as well, we dont get our panties in a twist because we call it "blood" rather than listing all the ingredients separately, do we? We could insist that people know and list all the different types of cells, but we dont. So why get all uppity because the process you are describing has a different name in other circles?


My explanation here is the same as above: calling something "blood" rather than its individual components doesn't allow it to bend the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. Calling all the plasma components by a collective term doesn't allow it to wield unnatural powers, as many in this thread claim chi and acupuncture do.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:14 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
To suggest that there is an unmeasurable, untestable force that controls illness and health would require a new set of physical and biological laws.


I dont know, we dont seem to hava a handle yet on the placebo and nocebo effects, and how all that works yet, nor do we have any way of measuring or testing the "force" (belief, expectation) that causes the physical effects, and yet we dont have to create a new set of physical and biological laws.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:16 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander

Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
To suggest that there is an unmeasurable, untestable force that controls illness and health would require a new set of physical and biological laws.


I dont know, we dont seem to hava a handle yet on the placebo and nocebo effects, and how all that works yet, nor do we have any way of measuring or testing the "force" (belief, expectation) that causes the physical effects, and yet we dont have to create a new set of physical and biological laws.


As I said before, a lack of understanding doesn't confer something with mystical powers. We have been able to reproduce the placebo effect with high predictive value, and there are generally accepted explanation for these effects that have been demonstrated and repeated. All we have to do now is fine tune and dissect the mechanism. It's not as if we're at a total loss for explanation.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:17 PM
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those of you who do not beleive in Chi or "Mystic Energies"
please watch this video



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:20 PM
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reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 


You keep stating that Chi must bend the laws of physics. I dont see why it must necessarily be so. Perhaps I am just misunderstanding your position. Perhaps you could tell me how the idea of Chi bends the laws of biology and physics.

Its energy, as I see it. I have no problem with the idea of energy flowing down channels in the body, mostly because even Western science knows it does. I am sure you know how nerves work, etc. So your objection cant be that you dont feel there is energy in the human body. What part of Chi do you feel is so out of line with the laws of physics?



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:27 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 

What part of Chi do you feel is so out of line with the laws of physics?


According to a classical understanding of chi as it relates to acupuncture:

"Theories of traditional Chinese medicine assert that the body has natural patterns of qi that circulate in channels called meridians in English.[19] Symptoms of various illnesses are often believed to be the product of disrupted, blocked, or unbalanced qi movement (interrupted flow) through the body's meridians, as well as deficiencies or imbalances of qi (homeostatic imbalance) in the various Zang Fu organs.[20] Traditional Chinese medicine often seeks to relieve these imbalances by adjusting the circulation of qi (metabolic energy flow) in the body using a variety of therapeutic techniques. Some of these techniques include herbal medicines, special diets, physical training regimens (qigong, tai chi chuan, and other martial arts training),[21] moxibustion, massage to clear blockages, and acupuncture, which uses small diameter metal needles inserted into the skin and underlying tissues to reroute or balance qi.[22]"

Quick and dirty definition

Now, having an energy source flowing through your body separate from neuronal impulses (which it would have to be, as constant energy flow from impulses is called tetany, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disorder) that cause disease when imbalance suggest that this energy disruption can spontaneously generate bacteria and viruses, can spontaneously generate compounds to alter the properties of blood and tissues, and can remove all of these spontaneously generated agents once being "re-balanced".

We have explanations for the vast majority of disease, and we have causative agents for them that have been proven, time and again, through laboratory research. You knock out gene X, you get deformity Y or immunodisorder Z. You inject a mouse with chemical A, you get neurodegenerative disorder B or musculodegenerative disorder C. None of these have anything to do with energy imbalance or having to let someone poke and prod you until they are "set".

It's also worth noting, as someone posted above, that sham acupuncture has been shown to be just as effective as true acupuncture. How would you explain that, other than placebo effect?



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:34 PM
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reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 


We are able to look at a person and tell whether or not they, individually, will experience the placebo (or nocebo) effect? I dont think so. Because we have not identified how it works yet. Just THAT it works. Being able to say we have noticed an effect, and naming it, and saying that in any given population there is likely to be x% who experience it, is completely different from having quantified it. If it were measurable and testable, we should be able to predict which individuals would have the effect, not just that "some percentage" would.

We just gave a name to a force we recognize the actions of, but we cant yet see, or quantify. Much like some ancient physicians named the energy flowing the human body "chi."

Medicine is not so far off from mysticism. There was a time, not so long ago, when doctors thought a mystical force called "stress" caused ulcers. Until someone discovered H. Pylori. And it only took the poor guy ten years or so to get the true believers in "stress" to consider that they might be wrong and try his "unproven treatment."

Remember when you are mocking the ancients that most of what you are learning and have learned today will likely be considered quaint and archaic in 100 years.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 


We are able to look at a person and tell whether or not they, individually, will experience the placebo (or nocebo) effect? I dont think so. Because we have not identified how it works yet. Just THAT it works. Being able to say we have noticed an effect, and naming it, and saying that in any given population there is likely to be x% who experience it, is completely different from having quantified it. If it were measurable and testable, we should be able to predict which individuals would have the effect, not just that "some percentage" would.


That's not true at all. We can't even do that for most pharmaceuticals, as we don't have a patient's genome in their medical record. I can't look at a patient and tell you if they are allergic to penicillamines or not, but I can certainly tell you what the likelihood is. Similarly, I can't look at a person and tell you whether or not they will respond to a given placebo therapy, but I can certainly tell you the likelihood.

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how we diagnose and treat, which is completely understandable not being in the field yourself. Medicine isn't as cut and dry as most other fields of science. We have to go with the most logical and effective answer/treatment first, measure the response, and then decide to continue or discontinue from there.


We just gave a name to a force we recognize the actions of, but we cant yet see, or quantify. Much like some ancient physicians named the energy flowing the human body "chi."


And those same ancient physicians gave it properties we know to be false, and ascribed certain diseases to it that we know have other causative agents.


Medicine is not so far off from mysticism. There was a time, not so long ago, when doctors thought a mystical force called "stress" caused ulcers. Until someone discovered H. Pylori. And it only took the poor guy ten years or so to get the true believers in "stress" to consider that they might be wrong and try his "unproven treatment."


Stress does have a role in ulcers. Chronic stress causes a state of immunodepression, which is what allows H. pylori to wreak havoc when normally it would be a transient and asymptomatic infection. THIS is what the discoverer was explaining, not that stress was a red herring.


Remember when you are mocking the ancients that most of what you are learning and have learned today will likely be considered quaint and archaic in 100 years.


Not likely. Most of what we were learning 100 years ago from today is considered knowledgeable and a solid groundwork for science. About this time one hundred years ago, we were discovering proteins, nucleic acids, hormones, and the more obscure functions of endocrine glands.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa

Now, having an energy source flowing through your body separate from neuronal impulses (which it would have to be, as constant energy flow from impulses is called tetany, a debilitating and sometimes fatal disorder)


So are you telling me that for any portion of any day, there is a time when you have no energy flowing through your body? You always have energy flowing somewhere in your body, true, or untrue? I dont know why you think the flow has to be constant in one direction like a river.

It just seems to me you are nitpicking an ancient theory unnecessarily to make Western medicine look better. And why, I dont know. Western medicine looks pretty good without making claims it cant support, (such as our "proving" this or that) or being derisive about what ancient people called this or that. So they didnt get everything right. I will guarantee you we currently have some medical "knowledge" that will be considered absolute rubbish within 50 years. I would never suggest someone go to an acupuncturist or a DOM rather than an MD for most things, but at the same token I dont see the point in pretending the idea of energy flowing in the body is something so ridiculous as to require bending the laws of physics, either.

And as for the sham acupuncture just as good as actual acupuncture, thats not the conclusion your article in your OP came to. But which takes us back again to the mystical force that causes placebos to work.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:10 PM
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I think the fallacy lies in the idea that because we know acupuncture provokes an anti-inflammatory response in the body that it is the only response it provides. For example, nerves run on electrical signals. It is well known that with an electric charge there exists an electric field, Coulomb force etc. Acupuncture may somehow interact in this way with these fields.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:15 PM
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Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
So are you telling me that for any portion of any day, there is a time when you have no energy flowing through your body? You always have energy flowing somewhere in your body, true, or untrue? I dont know why you think the flow has to be constant in one direction like a river.


I didn't say that at all. Of course you have nerve impulses travelling through you when stimulated. However, an imbalance in these impulses doesn't cause the diseases chi impulses are claimed to cause, sticking needles in my body doesn't show any measurable change in nerve impulses (there are several studies measuring this, as the theory at first was that nerve impulses were the original "chi" concept), and herbal teas/feng shui/any other eastern chi-related tradition has no measurable effect on nervous impulse. Thus, trying to associate the ancient idea of chi with nerve impulses is a non-starter of a theory.


It just seems to me you are nitpicking an ancient theory unnecessarily to make Western medicine look better. And why, I dont know.


Not at all. I've mentioned several times in this thread and others that there are several alternative, non-Western therapies that I am not averse to and which show great data. What I *do* have a problem with, however, is trying to apply medical theory or therapies to nonsense ideas that can claim exemption from study because they are, conveniently "unstudyable".


Western medicine looks pretty good without making claims it cant support, (such as our "proving" this or that) or being derisive about what ancient people called this or that. So they didnt get everything right.


My problem isn't that they couldn't get everything right. My problem is that people still cling to irrational ideas that we already KNOW aren't right.


I will guarantee you we currently have some medical "knowledge" that will be considered absolute rubbish within 50 years.


I have no doubt. But, at the same time, we won't cling to those rubbish ideas and claim we just haven't looked at the right data yet, or that the data is unable to be studied.


I would never suggest someone go to an acupuncturist or a DOM rather than an MD for most things, but at the same token I dont see the point in pretending the idea of energy flowing in the body is something so ridiculous as to require bending the laws of physics, either.


Please explain to me how, within the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry, an energetic imbalance can create a pathologic infection of bacteria and viruses out of thin air. Also, explain how, within these laws, such an infection can be cured by sticking a needle in your back. These are the claims made in traditional Chinese clinics, as well as by some on this board.


And as for the sham acupuncture just as good as actual acupuncture, thats not the conclusion your article in your OP came to. But which takes us back again to the mystical force that causes placebos to work.


Here is the study I was referring to. I apologize, I forgot it wasn't mentioned in my original link. Further research has suggested that both the reduction in inflammation and the pain relief are likely due to endorphin release, a process long known to be involved in the placebo effect. Not so mystical to me. Any stress (such as a needly in your arm...ouch!) will cause endorphin release. Of course, this only relieves the pain, it doesn't treat the actual condition.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:19 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
I've yet to see, hear, feel, taste, or hear any such energy, or even evidence of such energy.


Read about kundalini, then come back here and try again.



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 11:23 PM
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reply to post by Riposte
 


I'm an atheist, I don't believe in "god-awakenings". I can reach enlightenment perfectly well without having to ascribe to ancient Hindu tradition.



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