What alternative health

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"If acupuncture has effects beyond placebo, it is through the physical stimulation and release of the body's natural painkillers. Finding that sham acupuncture is as effective as "real" acupuncture demonstrates that the Qi theory is full of holes." Article by Michael Shermer, Scientific American (August 2005)

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"It's high time to conduct good trials to find if acupuncture is anything more than a placebo. In the meantime, there seems to be little reason for people to waste time and money on this elaborate ritual." David Ramey, New Humanist (7th January 2005)

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"A University of Maryland researcher, who has been touting acupuncture for the last 17 years, now reports it may actually work — sort of. Here's the picture: a few thousand years before it was known that blood circulates or germs cause disease, doctors who had never dissected a frog, claimed that yin and yang could be balanced by inserting needles into the right points, among the hundreds of points strung along 12 meridians. They called it "acupuncture," from the Latin acus, needle and punctus, prick. Which is odd, because they were Chinese. But if they figured out acupuncture, they must have been smart enough to learn Latin. Scientists today can't even find the meridians. A Maryland study of 570 elderly patients who suffer from arthritis of the knee, found that 6 months of acupuncture modestly reduced pain and improved agility. Six months? Why not take an aspirin? Scientists suggest the needles stimulate release of endorphins. Jalapeno peppers do the same thing. So it wouldn't matter where you stick the needles would it? Then who needs an acupuncturist?" Robert L. (Bob) Park, professor of physics and former chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, What's New newsletter (23rd December 2004)

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"A new study in the December issue of Contemporary Pediatrics recommends the use of acupuncture to treat children with chronic pain or nausea, claiming to have evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture for children by examining its use in adults. However, the flaws in the research reflect ongoing problems in other acupuncture studies……[the authors] only recommend it [acupuncture] for patients with "values and world views consistent with acupuncture". This admission handily illustrates what years of research has shown — acupuncture is a matter of belief, not medicine." Howard Fienberg, Tech Central Station (December 2002)

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"Taken as a group, reviews of clinical studies published since 1990 on the clinical efficacy of acupuncture do not support the notion that acupuncture is effective for any variety of conditions and cast doubt on efficacy for some specific conditions for which acupuncture has been reported as effective." Report on 'A review of the evidence for the clinical efficacy of human acupuncture' by David Ramey and Wallace Sampson, Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (2001) [Reported in Focus on Alternative and Complementary Medicine — FACT]

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In an operating room at the University of Shanghai, a 28-year-old female patient was prepped for "open-heart surgery" to repair her mitral valve. In lieu of standard anesthesia, her only anesthetic was an acupuncture needle in her right earlobe that was connected to an electrical source. Skeptical article by Gary P. Posner, M.D. and Wallace Sampson, M. D., originally published in The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (Fall/Winter 1999) [Includes links to photographs of the surgery]

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Article by Stephen Basser, The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (Spring/Summer 1999) [pdf]