Acupuncture Tidbits

Acupuncture Tidbits

I get a lot of information from the web on various pseudo-medicines pushed to me. There is a surfeit of Chiropractic articles on fraud, misbehavior and practice building but little science.

Acupuncture, by contrast, is a remarkable source for mostly poorly done, and often laughable, clinical studies.

Fevers break. Temperatures tend to go up fast, peak for a very short period of time, and then fall. The jagged up and down line of a fever curve is common to all infections. Fevers go up and down.

That is why Acupuncture therapy for fever induced by viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in military medical service: a case series resulted in a snort of derision.

Treat a self limited symptom, it gets better, and then take the credit. Since all fevers break, it is funny when they say:

After one treatment session (20 min), reduction of body temperature was confirmed in all patients.

And they used a

new type of acupuncture, equilibrium acupuncture (Feibing and Ganmao points).

One of these days I am going to have to collect all the different forms of acupuncture. Today I not only found equilibrium acupuncture, but also flying needle acupunctureSo many acupunctures, how do researchers decide which ones to test?  And how do they know which one is valid?  

In JAMA this week is Acupuncture for chronic knee pain: a randomized clinical trial.

In patients older than 50 years with moderate or severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture conferred benefit over sham for pain or function. Our findings do not support acupuncture for these patients.

No surprise. Quality studies, ie those with good blinding, fail to show efficacy of acupuncture, in all likelihood because it is not based on reality. Especially laser acupuncture, which is really stupid.

That doesn't stop Harvard from noting "Acupuncture for knee arthritis fails one test but may still be worth a try."

Data never alters the practive of pseudo-medicine. Ever. Of course they note that if a pseudo-medicine is as effective as placebo, and both better than nothing, then the pseudo-medicine is effective.  Does that criteria apply to pharmaceuticals as well?  And they have the accompanying howler:

Also, acupuncture styles vary quite a bit from one practitioner to the next. That means if acupuncture doesn’t help, you can’t always be sure if the treatment didn’t work for you, or the acupuncturist.

Or maybe acupuncture is nonsense? I keep saying there are as many forms of acupunctures as there are acupuncturists, a lack of standardization that makes the whole field even more suspect. Almost anything and everything can be acupuncture.

They also suggest that

Ask your doctor to recommend a trusted provider. You can search for a trained acupuncturist in your area on the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

But how do you know they are trained or even know what they are doing? As noted in P6 Acupressure Effectiveness in Patients with Acute Vertigo, a study was published using the wrong P6 point. Horrors:

the authors state that the P6 point is located three fingerbreadths from the wrist crease on the volar surface of the arm between the palmaris longus and the flexor carpi radialis. It should be noted that P6 is on the anterior aspect of the forearm between the tendons of the palmaris longus and the flexor carpi radialis, 2 B-cun proximal to the palmar wrist crease.

Isn't that the acupuncture equivalent of a study were they operated on the wrong side in every patient?

Maybe if they had just combined lasers with flying needle and equilibrium acupuncture they would have had something.

Points of Interest: 10/05/2014
Points of Interest: 10/01/2014