ACUPUNCTURE & HOLISTIC HEALth RESEARCH

Before you dive into the studies I've included below I want to clarify a few things about acupuncture and the Western model of science that is the basis of most research studies. 

ACUPUNCTURE IS ANCIENT

The earliest record of people using acupuncture is nearly 5,000 years ago. Think about that, what else do you know that has been around for 5,000 years?!  Within this time there is an enormous amount of anecdotal and evidence-based data of how acupuncture has been used as an effective and safe treatment option. 

TRYING TO PUT THE EAST IN A WESTERN BOX

Our Western scientific model and view of #science is rooted mainly in research studies and lab tests.  Although this can be a beneficial way to evaluate certain hypotheses and/or the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and other therapies, there are a few problems we run into when evaluating Chinese Medicine:

 

1.  Acupuncture + Eastern medicine do not fit neatly into the Western model of research that is  based around double-blind studies and placebos.

Double-blind study + Acupuncture?

One of the gold standards of the Western research model is the double-blind study. This is where neither the person(s) administering the test nor the test subjects know whether they are receiving the "real" treatment or the fake one. As you can imagine this is nearly impossible to do with acupuncture as the patient is aware of whether they are receiving acupuncture and the practitioner will also know whether they are truly doing acupuncture or not. 

'Placebo' acupuncture?

“Sham acupuncture” is what they often use as a placebo or control group. It is where they put the needles in "non" acupuncture points or near the acupuncture point. Unfortunately it is a flawed and ineffective substitute for a true placebo. “Sham acupuncture” often produces results or makes physiological changes in the body. This can be confusing for the test results and skeptics use this to argue that acupuncture doesn’t work.

 

However, based on Chinese Medicine theory, these “sham” procedures are still having an effect on your qi (energy) and will still make changes in your nervous system, pain and inflammation levels, etc.  Inserting the needle in any part of your body whether it's an acupuncture point or not is going to make a shift in your body and therefore alter the results.

 

This is why designing research around acupuncture is tough.

 

2.   There is little financial incentive to offer acupuncture as an alternative to medication and surgery.

 

Research studies are expensive. Most studies have a company or investor that pays for the expenses involved with running, operating and publishing studies. In the United States, pharmaceutical companies fund the majority of medical research. Because they can't patent acupuncture like they could a drug or pharmaceutical, there are few companies or sponsors able or willing to finance large scale acupuncture studies. 

In addition to this, the chronic pain and illness industry is (unfortunately) booming. Now, I'm the first to admit that there is a time and place for Western Medicine and pharmaceuticals. However, there is a desperate need for an improvement in how the West approaches preventative medicine and care for chronic conditions. These are two categories where acupuncture and Chinese Medicine EXCEL!

 

So although I'm not suggesting that "the man" is trying to make you fat, sick and tired, I am suggesting that many companies are not in a rush to find a healthy, long-term, side-effect free alternative to these conditions.

If you'd like to read more on the topic of how #SCIENCE in the US isn't quite as straightforward as we hope it is, I'd encourage you to check out some of the following:

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

The Hacking Of The American Mind by Robert Lustig

Influence of Industry Sponsorship on Research

Big Science is Broken

The Case Against Sugar

The Great Cholesterol Myth

studies

So as we discussed above, the scientific method <especially when talking about acupuncture> is not perfect. It is however, absolutely necessary to evaluate "science" and new ideas. It's the best that we have right now and we can only hope that as technology and our understanding of the body and mind advance, we will be able to more accurately study the effects of acupuncture on the body. 

 

For those of you who want more information on what we have found on acupuncture, the studies below demonstrate that acupuncture does indeed have a measurable effect, even in some cases where “sham” acupuncture is used. 

PRO TIP: Hold CTRL + F to search for a specific topic 

Acupuncture + Acne

Acupuncture + Addiction

Acupuncture + Allergies

Acupuncture + Anxiety

Acupuncture + Arthritis

Acupuncture + Asthma

Acupuncture + Bell’s Palsy

Acupuncture + Bladder

Acupuncture + Carpal Tunnel

Acupuncture + Cancer

 Acupuncture + Depression

Acupuncture + Digestive Disorders

Acupuncture + Fibromyalgia

Acupuncture + Headaches/Migraines

Acupuncture in the Hospital

Acupuncture + Inflammation

Acupuncture + Insomnia

Acupuncture + Immunity

Acupuncture + Kids

Acupuncture + Knee Pain

Acupuncture + Low Back Pain

Acupuncture + Menopause

Acupuncture + Multiple Sclerosis

 Acupuncture + Neck Pain

Acupuncture + Neuralgia

 Acupuncture + Pain

Acupuncture + Pregnancy

 Acupuncture + Stress

 Acupuncture + Trauma

Acupuncture + Weight-Loss

Acupuncture & Women's Health

Mechanisms of Acupuncture

Research on other holistic Practices

Chinese Medicine is Powerful

Heat Not Ice for Injuries

 Probiotics

Why You Should Seriously Eat Less Sugar

Infographic on Sugar’s Effects on the Body

Benefits of Meditation

Importance of Sleep

Exercise and Stress

Which Fish You Should Eat

Gua Sha

Risks of Common Western Medications

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