Author Topic: Why accupuncture SEEMS LIKE it works  (Read 1180 times)

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Offline BriGuy360

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Why accupuncture SEEMS LIKE it works
« on: May 21, 2009, 03:48:16 PM »
Hi guys! Hope this is the right thread to ask a question for the skeptics. In the recent study on accupuncture that was in the news and discussed recently on the podcast, there were three groups - those who received "custom" accupuncture, those who recieved "standard" accupuncture, and those who received a placebo in the form of toothpicks being pressed into their skin to simulate needles peircing the skin. The results showed that accupuncture treatments were no better than the placebo, but that all treatments including the placebo were more effective than pain medication alone in treating lower back pain.

That got me thinking... I know when I'm getting a shot I focus on relaxing my muscles because I know that the injection will hurt less if I relax. Could the reason for both accupuncture and the placebo being more effective than pain medication be that the participants were focusing on relaxing their backs?

I think this would neatly explain why the toothpick placebos were effective (if you think you're getting a shot, you still relax). Has anyone ever studied accupuncture from this angle?

Thanks! Love the show! Don't want to marry Rebecca though... she's cute but probably high-maintenance  ;D

Offline kem

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Re: Why accupuncture SEEMS LIKE it works
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 02:52:30 AM »
In my experience, accupuncture, unlike hypodermic injections isbasically painless.  If the practitioner is good, you might not feel the needle insertion.  Since the needles are often out of sight, well, you only have the practitioners word that it is happening, sometimes.  I suspect the accupuncture I have had, is just part of the GP or the Physiotherapist's programme of relaxation to enhance other therapies or to just help cope with other evil therapies like chemo and radio.  The programme as a cancer therapy adjuvant worked with me, but it was just intended to help me relax.
"Americans will always do the right thing-after they have exhausted all the alternatives."

Winston Churchill

Offline whitedevilbrewing

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Re: Why accupuncture SEEMS LIKE it works
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 05:54:37 PM »
This is sort of the 'classic' article on the subject-