acupuncture

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Toby

Level 5 Valued Member
Most TCM doctors don't use the bear thing.It is more for snake oil merchant "supplements"

In Victoria, Australia,TCM doctors only use herbs due to the law.

acupuncture, in my 20 years of personal experience, help my rotator cuff injuries, hyperextended elbow, inflamed muscle (being punched/kicked on) and stiff neck. My TCM doctors used it along with hot herbal oil and cupping.
I can't vouch for brain surgery and personally I would go for western medicine if I need a brain operation.
 

Samuel

Level 2 Valued Member
This is turning into rather an interesting discussion, and people seem to be keeping a level head which is nice. This will be long, but I've split things up and quoted and stuff again. This time I even figured out the proper quote formatting.

Evan,

I have read the science, and there is evidence that acupuncture is even more effective than placebos for relieving pain. We also know that placebos are just as effective, if not more effective, than administering actual medication.
Two things here. First of all, yes, there are some studies which show positive results. But the reason I posted that specific article before is because it addresses comments like these. It’s also worth reading the Ioannidis paper that is referenced at one point (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/). You can’t take the “some evidence” (i.e. a minority of studies) on their own or on face value – that’s why meta-analyses and systematic reviews exist. What was the quality of the studies? What is the effect size? What do all the other studies say? What is their quality? It seems to be that, on the whole, acupuncture is so rarely and so minimally positive that it’s unlikely to be effectual.

why try to deprive them of that if it has no bearing or effect on you?
I don’t routinely go into acupuncture offices and try to convince people to leave. But Rick asked our opinion, and I gave it. It’s worth dwelling on the fact that yes, it does indeed have no effect on me. So why would I be so fervent? Because I’m actually doing him a favour. I’m trying to convince him not to spend money on something that there’s a very strong chance will have no effect, and if it does have an effect is likely to be little more than placebo. Now, some people believe in selling placebo. That’s a complex ethical discussion, but I personally believe in honesty and integrity and that selling placebo is not acceptable. I wouldn’t want to be led to believe having needles stuck in my body is effective and charged for it to occur any more than I would want my doctor to charge me prescription medicine prices for a sugar pill that may or may not help me via placebo.

I would much rather take my chances with something that is minimally invasive and drug-free like acupuncture than have to get surgery or take medicines that are loaded with crap that I don’t want to be putting into my body, not to mention the potential side effects.
You seem to keep painting me as some kind of drug and surgery fanatic. I am not. I don’t even take basic pain killers unless it’s really bad (two occasions in the past 5 or so years – one was a headache that woke me up in the middle of the night; after 90 minutes of being unable to get back to sleep I took a couple; the other was after a car crash when I was forced to lie in bed in a neck brace while waiting for X-Rays and the lack of movement started to give me a really bad lower back ache, and ideally I wouldn’t have taken them then I would have just moved around but that was not possible). I am not in the habit of recommending drugs or surgery at all either. I’m in the habit of recommending evidence-based practices with an honest and open consideration of all options and their potential consequences (i.e. the side effects you mentioned).

Herr,
Actually, there is fraud. The surgeries with no anesthesia are frauds usually, at least, the high profile ones I know. So, anything which seems extraordinary is usually suspicious.

Nobody credible recommends acupuncture as an anesthetic.
Thankyou! I especially agree on the suspicion for the extraordinary point. This is something that a lot of the folks here seem to be missing. Somehow, somewhere along the line, they decided that there might be merit to acupuncture. Now they’re arguing from this weird perspective – “people have been doing it for centuries, so it must be right”, “it worked for me, so it must be right”, “people believe in it hard enough, so it must be right”. However, how many of these people believe in faith healing? I hope the answer is few to none – but then again, maybe they do. Still, I’ll try and work on this analogy anyway. A person who doesn’t believe, what do they think… “Well, there’s no evidence for a God. There’s no logical mechanism why this should work. There’s no reason to believe it should… so why would I believe it?” And this makes sense!
Acupuncture… well, someone give me a biologically plausible mechanism why it should work. Because I’ve never heard one. And in the absence of a biologically plausible mechanism, and in the absence of good evidence, what rational reason is there to accept it? “Lots of people already believe it” is not a rational reason.

A broken analog clock does not work, despite being correct at certain times. Traditional Chinese Medicine as a system does not work, so whatever elements which may be efficacious work for reasons other than the Traditional Chinese Medicine theories.
Brilliant! I am going to steal this analogy from you.

Christine,
I agree with Iron Tamer, 1500 years, to be more precise. … Samuel, you are living in Australia, do you know that private health insurance, and the biggest one, Medibank, pay for the traditional chinese treatments ?acupuncture included ?
I didn’t comment on Dave’s post before, but since you decided to make the same point, I will. Or rather, I was going to. HerrMannelig beat me to the punch. I will just reiterate that this is a fallacious argument, called the appeal to antiquity (or argumentum ad antiquitatem, or appeal to tradition, etc.). Herr did say this, but I want to bring it up again. It is fallacious (read more: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition). The rest of his examples are also far better than I would have managed, so I won’t dwell on this point further.
Your second point however is also entirely irrelevant. As mentioned earlier there are ineffectual surgeries and drug prescriptions that are covered by insurance as well. I’m not interested in what insurance will cover, I am interested in what works. The fact that Medibank will pay for acupuncture is completely irrelevant to the topic.


Zach,
@Samuel- the article you posted is an “con editorial,” not a peer-reviewed study. That same issue of A & A has a “pro editorial” that you can read if you pay them money.
I’m aware and have skimmed the ‘pro’ article too (I have access through my uni). You might call it bias (or maybe it was the fact in the opening paragraph they said “Acupuncture practice has constantly evolved throughout history and has been based on the knowledge and ideas garnered from astronomy, nature, science, and technology” (emphasis mine)), but I found that at the end of it all that I still am not convinced acupuncture is a worthwhile investment. It (the article I posted) is obviously not a study but it does, however, cite meta-analyses that one can follow up at their whims and discusses the pertinent points. I posted it specifically because it’s reasonably comprehensive while being easier reading for the people here than typical dry academia. Those who can tolerate the latter can easily find it if they want.
 

kris

Level 3 Valued Member
@ All, I answered strictly to Nick question : is acupuncture can work for muscles tightness and spams. Yes, you can try and that can work...or not...same as all treatments. You have plenty of choice if you are not satisfied,  Ostheopath is also a good option, Physio also, exercises physiologist...massages, including Chineses massages, the harder is to find the good practionner.

@ Sam, Healph insurance are covering treatments which works, impossible to know if acupuncture is going to work for Nick, but the % of people treated per acupuncture for appropriate treatments is positive, so covered by Healph Insurances. Nothing scientific here, just a business rule. Sam, we are not an engine but human being, in surgery, in drugs prescriptions, it is the same, never 100% of positive results.

 
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Saying one has “tried acupuncture” is akin to saying one has done PT and therefore…… with no mention of what modalities the therapist uses.  Are there non-effective acupuncturists? Of course, just as there are practitioners of any other modality that are ineffective. There are many modalities that all can be described as “acupuncture” that I would not use, I was able to find a highly skilled Five Elemental practitioner and have seen great results.
So, essentially, one is gambling or has to be an expert when choosing an acupuncturist. Seems less scientific by the minute here.
@ Sam, Healph insurance are covering treatments which works, impossible to know if acupuncture is going to work for Nick, but the % of people treated per acupuncture for appropriate treatments is positive, so covered by Healph Insurances. Nothing scientific here, just a business rule. Sam, we are not an engine but human being, in surgery, in drugs prescriptions, it is the same, never 100% of positive results.
Insurances covers what it wills. One finds many oddities in coverage. Insurance has nothing to do with this topic really.

As for acupuncture, it is interesting that positive anecdotes are accepted, but negatives ones are rejected.

It seems to be a a No True Scotsman fallacy. Let us cut the BS, and stick to science. Does acupuncture work? No, it does not. It is not scientific. Does it on occasion seem to be effective for some things? Yes, but, again that is not scientific and could be said for most things.

Sophistry making it seems like nothing is perfect, therefore, all is equal is misleading. Nothing works 100%, but some things have statistically significant chances of working. If something does not work better than a control group, then it is no better than nothing...and nothing is always cheaper.

 
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
For all the alternative treatment suggestions here, I would just recommend, if it is not a serious issue, going to a school for massage therapists, see if they operate a facility where you can get a very cheap or even free massage from a person in training. I went to a school which did this (I had an entirely different course of study than the massage therapists) and they had good reviews and good supervision from experienced massage therapists. The things which happen to work in alternative treatments are usually just a more mystical form of massage.

 
 

Zach Ganska

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Samuel,

We obviously were all biased at the beginning of this discussion, I have had valuable experiences from five elemental acupuncture, more so than other modalities that a majority would label as "scientific," therefore I would advise someone interested to research and find an experienced practitioner.  If one is going to take a stance that something has no merit whatsoever using a citation then I personally would use more than 1/2 of an editorial.

Herrmanelig,

I have changed entirely as a person through practices many criticize as being unscientific.  Your arguments can be made against meditation, psychology, "spiritual" practices, etc.  I have no way of providing quantitative data relating to my change in the emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions of personal health, and since we do not know each other my typed words on an internet forum carry no weight.  I could cite the "diseases" that have vanished, however most could be attacked in the same manner, aside from being formerly obese which has a quantitative value.

 
 

Samuel

Level 2 Valued Member
I don’t recall ever saying that one article was the entirety of the evidence I had weighed up. I posted it as a source of “further reading”.

Yet, peculiarly, I am still the only person to post anything. You’re going to criticise me for “1/2 of an editorial”, meanwhile the most you offer is a personal anecdote? Again – what I posted has the references to further evidence, and I am happy to oblige to post more studies with detailed analysis, for those who want it. But clearly nobody here is actually interested in science at all, only appeals to antiquity and anecdote.

Please, somebody, I beg of you. Give me some reason, any reason, to believe that acupuncture has merit which doesn't involve "I had a positive result from it" or "the Chinese have been doing it for 1500 odd years".
 

Zach Ganska

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Samuel,

I think I came across wrong, I was not criticizing, just discussing.  I have never looked for a study confirming the physical and emotional changes I've felt from the practitioner I see and I understand your skepticism having never tried it.
 

Samuel

Level 2 Valued Member
And there are those who would say the same about homeopathy, faith healing, reiki, and so on, and so forth.

So my question is this: Given that you can always find someone who will give a positive testimonial for anything, no matter how ridiculous, is your contention that as long as there is a positive testimonial for something then that thing is credible and worthy of recommending to others?
 

Zach Ganska

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
If someone asks about practices I have firsthand experience with that have helped facilitate changes in the way I function I offer what I did and the outcome and additional resources if applicable. I personally try practices (or at least learn more about them) from others who are wiser than myself and have achieved outcomes I desire to experience.

My experiments have included pharmaceutical drugs from a handful of MD's and interventions that are more widely accepted in the US.  If you like you can leave your email and I'll send you my records from when I was obese and taking five prescriptions (I was told I needed a cocktail of drugs if I ever hoped to be able to function, I now function better than at any other point using 0 pharmaceuticals), or from when I was told I would need surgery to repair a herniated disc in my back if I ever hoped to be able to run or lift again (this was 14 years ago and I am stronger now in every respect).

Surgery and drug therapies meet your criteria for validity correct?
 

Samuel

Level 2 Valued Member
"Surgery and drug therapies meet your criteria for validity correct?"

Not always, no. In fact see my previous posts when replying to Evan:
"Taking a pill or receiving an operation often doesn’t work either."
"You seem to keep painting me as some kind of drug and surgery fanatic. I am not. ... I am not in the habit of recommending drugs or surgery at all either. I’m in the habit of recommending evidence-based practices with an honest and open consideration of all options and their potential consequences"

In fact, seeing as one of my main areas of fascination is pain science, surgery for musculoskeletal pain is typically one of the last things I recommend (since it assumes a structural-biomechanical model which is not especially well supported). That's why I get a massive kick out of studies such as this one - http://www.unsworks.unsw.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?docId=unsworks_10864&vid=UNSWORKS. We need more studies like this.
 

Zach Ganska

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I'm not implying you advise surgery or drugs, I'm saying that those have been established as credible given you statements, and that the doctors that use them are superior to other practitioners.  These methods have been reviewed in a way as deemed satisfactory correct?

I don't believe in spontaneous healing, something in the internal and/or external environment of an individual must experience a change for a different outcome. So if I used drug therapies for a condition, drugs that have gone through FDA approval, following the criteria you are using to critique acupuncture, and now use other means with far better results, then I have in fact an educated opinion and am free to express that without being directly insulted?

 
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Ah, I love how the internet makes everyone who can type into an instant expert on everything. Herr makes so many basic errors of fact in his statements that it no longer is a discussion on TCM, but on some weird conception of it in his mind. Others keep citing one extremely poorly done study that has nothing to do with the actual practice of acupuncture.

There are lots of studies that show acupuncture isn't helpful. There are also lots of studies that show it is.  The fact of the matter is, standard research methodology, while accomplishing many wonderful things, is simply not suited to studying everything. I can usually explain this to people who have actually studied it and done research themselves; people who just want to argue on the internet, not so much. I'm actually working on a long series of articles now on all the ways in which it fails as a tool in studying tcm; if anyone's interested they can email me and I'll send you links when they come out. The short version is, they do not replicate actual clinical practice and diagnosis.

When I first started strength training, using power to the people, I had lot's of people, including personal trainers, people with degrees in exercise physiology, very accomplished martial artists, etc, show me lots of studies purporting to show why a) I shouldn't use weights b) machines were safer c) deadlifting more than once a week was a terrible idea (both an exercise physiologist and a physical therapist showed me the same study on this one), d) I needed to go to failure e) I needed more than two exercises or I'd become "unbalanced", f) the set rep scheme was all wrong g) I needed to change exercises more often, etc. etc. etc.   Ditto when I started with kettlebells.

I listened to those people, but I also observed for myself and talked to others. I chose to follow Pavel's advice and teaching, and all these years later, I'm stronger than the folks giving the advice, even those whose profession it is, I'm uninjured (unlike almost all of them), and I've taught many others safely and effectively. Studies are great, but they're not everything, and important things get missed.

I've been in private practice since completing my master's degree; I've also practiced in clinical settings, and I've practiced in hospitals for as well. Those hospitals who hired me and the doctors, nurses, and physical therapists that worked with me know a thing or two about medicine; they're the folks educated in it and whose profession it is after all. The many doctors and other health care professionals and even researchers (who, sadly, are often not clinicians anymore these days) who refer patients to me think that what I do is worthwhile, because their patients tell them they feel better, even in some cases where medication and/or surgery has not been effective. I don't succeed with everyone, and I'm not always right the first time; and most things are not going to be fixed in one treatment. But I'm good enough that these folks keep sending patients my way, despite the best efforts of the internet. I just renewed my license with my state; I intend to keep practicing and keep treating patients for quite some time.

All this of course is silly; NJRick did not post stating he had appendicitis and asking if he should go to the ER or not; this is not an emergency scenario. Acupuncture is much safer, cheaper, and less invasive than surgery. If he, or anyone else tries it a few times and it doesn't work, he can still go and have surgery and he's not that put out. If he's able to avoid surgery, as many are, you can cry placebo (funny what a one-way street that is) or anything else you want, the fact of the matter is it's still a good outcome.
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Ah, I love how the internet makes everyone who can type into an instant expert on everything. Herr makes so many basic errors of fact in his statements that it no longer is a discussion on TCM, but on some weird conception of it in his mind. Others keep citing one extremely poorly done study that has nothing to do with the actual practice of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work? Maybe I will be enlightened if I get a basic explanation of how it works from an expert. I have not seen an explanation for it, except for lists of possible mechanisms.

 
 

Sambo

First Post
With time spent wading through this excruciating discussion, NJRick should probably just give it a go and decide for himself if it's worthwhile.
 

Samuel

Level 2 Valued Member
Jason Ginsberg accuses Herr of “so many basic errors of fact” and then proceeds to deliver a spiel riddled with logical fallacies and not a shred of anything with substance; not even enlightening us as to what those errors supposedly were.

I think my favourite part was where you tried to draw a parallel between TCM and Pavel. You know the difference? Pavel repeatedly refers to research, while those in defence of TCM – yourself included – make claims such as this:

standard research methodology, while accomplishing many wonderful things, is simply not suited to studying everything … it fails as a tool in studying tcm

Why should that be the case? What makes TCM so special that it is beyond the scope of rigorous study? Things that are legitimate and work are not in some way special, unique or distinct from conventional medicine – they simply are medicine.

And for the record, Steve Novella – one of the writers of the editorial – is hardly a researcher with no clinical background (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Novella). Dave Colquhoun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Colquhoun) I believe is, but that is hardly relevant. And your reference to the editorial as "one poorly done study" simply raises eyebrows, as it's not even a study at all so making reference to its supposedly poor methodology is baffling.
 

Brodsky

Level 1 Valued Member
You can take the forum out of Dragondoor, but you can't take the Dragondoor out of the forum.
 

Toby

Level 5 Valued Member
I was trying to find a basic explanation of acupuncture but came across this:

 

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/05/31/2914057.htm

Also, this is the home page of Traditional Chinese Med study at my university, where I study Computer Science. You might get a better explanation than me typing put what I know.

There are also links of some research they have done/are doing.

http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse/Our%20Organisation/Science%20Engineering%20and%20Health/Schools/Health%20Sciences/About/Disciplines/Chinese%20Medicine/
 

NJRick

Level 3 Valued Member
Thanks for the info guys. My take after reading all this is that it works for some but not for others. My only deterrent is price. I've recently got an fms and am doing the exercises he prescribed to me. If this cannot take the tightness out of my muscles, acupuncture is certainty worth a shot, but I will first wait to see if these exercises will do the trick on their own.
 
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