Posted by: shoji | September 25, 2007

“Real” or “fake” acupuncture helps back pain

Who knows how it works?

Apparently “fake” acupuncture (in which the needles are inserted in non-acupuncture locations; needles are not inserted as deeply; and not manipulated once inserted) works as well as “real” acupuncture.

Leaving us with ??? (That’s right– it leaves us with questions.)

Also, if “fake” acupuncture is as good as “real” acupuncture, is there any difference between the two?

Acupuncture — real or sham — helps back pain –
In the largest experiment on acupuncture for back pain to date, more than 1,100 patients were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture, sham acupuncture or conventional therapy. For the sham acupuncture, needles were inserted, but not as deeply as for the real thing. The sham acupuncture also did not insert needles in traditional acupuncture points on the body and the needles were not manually moved and rotated.

After six months, patients answered questions about pain and functional ability and their scores determined how well each of the therapies worked.

In the real acupuncture group, 47 percent of patients improved. In the sham acupuncture group, 44 percent did. In the usual care group, 27 percent got relief.



  1. I love these acupuncture studies.

    First, how do you know the “real” acupuncture is actually real acupuncture? Most acupuncturist don’t actually needle acupuncture points 😉

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (modern communist acupuncture and herbology with western medicine thrown in) believes acupuncture points are very large and that you can just stimulate an area to get the desired effects. George Soulie de Morant learned acupuncture from master acupuncturist in the early 1900s in China and brought back what he called True Acupuncture. The difference between these styles is night and day. Once we understand that an acupuncture point is only 1-2 mm in diameter then we have to look at these studies and the current practice of acupuncture with a raised eyebrow. 😉

    The only thing these studies prove is, sticking a needle into the skin can cause some type of effects. Duh! Maybe that’s why some people turn white and pass out. If we do “dry needling” (using an acupuncture needle but not needling an acupuncture point) and stimulate an area till the muscles contract thus stimulating the nervous system we will most likely get some type of reaction neurologically in another area of the body. This is similar to trigger point therapy. It can have great benefit if used correctly but it is NOT acupuncture and these studies are not testing “real” acupuncture.

    Just more bad science!

  2. Both “Real” and “fake” acupuncture described in this study actually are real acupuncture, so-called non-acupuncture points, just reprent non-classic acupuncture points,i.e. 14 meridian points. Actually such points are “out-of meridian points” or Jing Wai Qi Xue, if the researchers/designers are real acupuncturists, they should know that.

    The “Real” and “fake” are rediculas name.

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