From Journal Watch:
Acupuncture may be better than conventional therapy for the treatment of chronic low back pain, but it seems to offer no benefit over sham acupuncture, according to a study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Nearly 1200 adults with chronic back pain for at least 6 months were randomized to undergo acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or conventional therapy that included physiotherapy, exercise, and medication. All interventions involved ten 30-minute treatment sessions, with five additional sessions for patients who experienced pain reduction after the first ten.
At 6 months, the response rate was significantly higher with real acupuncture (48%) and sham acupuncture (44%) than with conventional therapy (27%). The difference between the two acupuncture groups was not significant.
The authors say the lack of difference between acupuncture groups “forces us to question the underlying action mechanism of acupuncture and to ask whether the emphasis placed on … traditional Chinese acupuncture points may be superfluous.“
That is my point! In several instances, we have seen that any procedure has a temporary benefit arising from its placebo value. The fact that something has been seen to be done itself has a role in providing symptomatic relief.
Doctors who disregard this in their practice tend to believe in their awesome healing prowess, and are likely to be pretentious pricks!