Understanding Acupuncture on Western Medicine’s Terms

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture uses needles inserted at specific points in the body to redirect one’s qi, or energy flow, when it is out of balance and causing illness. Western medicine’s view is that acupuncture seems to be effective for certain ailments, but there’s no consensus on theories of how it works.

However it works, medical studies indicate that acupuncture is most effective for nausea and pain. Sounds good, huh?

The LA Times recently published an article describing traditional and modern views of acupuncture and some of the current medical ideas and beliefs about it. It’s a fascinating read that’s not too long. I’m too tired to summarize it accurately, but trust me that it’s worth a look.

[9/21/06: This article is no longer available. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides similar information.]


One Response to Understanding Acupuncture on Western Medicine’s Terms

  1. Peter Mersch says:

    In Germany the insurance companies recently financed a very large study about accupuncture. The results were: Yes, it works, it even works better than most standard methods including drugs.
    But: There was almost no difference between the precise application of the chinese standards and placing the needles randomly.

    The explanations within the article about the hormonal changes made by accupuncture are quite convincing. But others already made the same explanations for the so called placebo effect. Research has found out that even putting somebody on the waiting list of an appreciated doctor helps, not that much as accupuncture does but still measurable.
    Best regards

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