Sticking needles in a person to redirect magical energy as a treatment for disease or disorders is a flaming pile of sh-t, says a study released today. In fact, it is a patient's belief that acupuncture will work that makes the difference.
The Journam of Arthritis Care & Research studied 455 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The group was divided into two groups; the first received traditional Chinese acupuncture, the second group had some guy in a lab coat jam needles in them wherever the hell he wanted to.
Felix Mann, founder of the Medical Acupuncture Society wrote that "The traditional acupuncture points are no more real than the black spots a drunkard sees in front of his eyes." and "The meridians of acupuncture are no more real than the meridians of geography. If someone were to get a spade and tried to dig up the Greenwich meridian, he might end up in a lunatic asylum. Perhaps the same fate should await those doctors who believe in acupuncture."
After six weeks of pin-cushionism, the two "treatment" groups showed comparable results in terms of arthritis symptoms, pain, and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, both groups reported less pain and fewer symptoms.
So, the people who received the random needles reacted the same way that the people who got the ancient Chinese super-secret needles. They felt better.
"All this trial shows is that in acupuncture of the knee the placement of the needles is unimportant for achieving the clinical effect," said some a--hole who makes money as an acupuncturist. "The nervous system is equally stimulated and pain relief achieved whether the points are in so called acupuncture points or not."
"Horsesh-t," replied the Journal of Arthritis Care & Research. "Because they weren't aware of one salient fact: What did matter in the study was how optimistic the acupuncture providers appeared when they spoke to their patients."
Indeed, in the study, practitioners were asked either to express neutral opinions about whether acupuncture would work for the patient, or to be positive about the expected results. Irrespective of whether patients received the real, traditional acupuncture treatment, those who were told to expect improvements were more likely to feel better afterward.
"See, this proves it perfectly: Pain relief can be produced via endorphin release from points not needled in the local area," said the acupuncturist, who sells magic beans for $150.00 apiece. "It doesn't have to be in a traditional chakra pathway."
"So," the Journal's scientists replied. "What you're saying is that anyone who wants pain relief in their knee only needs to kneel in some thumbtacks. Doesn't that make you irrelevant?"
"I, uh... I, uh... Look, it's the Easter Bunny!" yelled the acupuncturist, before running off.