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Indexed under : Medicine / Treatments

Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown


Acupuncture, as a treatment for a wide range of diseases and conditions, has been practiced for more than 2,000 years.

Proponents say that it's not only effective, but, in contrast with drug treatments, it has very few deleterious side-effects.

Detractors claim that it's simply a manifestation of the Placebo Effectplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigPlacebo effect

Placebos are faux medications - typically lactose or microcrystalline cellulose - designed to act as inert, non-functional 'controls' in medical experiments. (There are also faux medical procedures, see section below)

From the beginnings of their use iā€¦

Numerous carefully controlled scientific studies have found that :

1) It doesn't work, and :
2) It does work.

A classic problem with the studies is that it's hard to rule out the placebo effect when the experimental subjects obviously know whether they have been treated with needles or not. Recently, however, several research groups have been conducting experiments with 'sham needles' - special needles designed so that the recipient cannot tell whether they're real or not. ( See : Acupuncture in Medicine , Volume: 20 issue: 2-3, page(s): 123-139 )

To date, results of experiments using sham needles are still generally considered inconclusive.

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