The Big Acupuncture Debate: Where Do You Stand?

On the back of the recently published NICE guideline recommending acupuncture as a prophylactic treatment for headache management (read more about this here), and guidelines pertaining to protection of the title ‘Acupuncturist’ published in Australia (read more here), heated debate has sparked up on the efficacy of acupuncture following publication of articles in The Conversation. The articles sparking such debate are outlined below; have a read and consider: Where you stand on this debate?

Modern acupuncture: panacea or placebo?‘ outlines the history of, and research for, acupuncture. This positive article outlines proposed benefits of acupuncture in a variety of settings, such as back pain, arthritis and fertility. The article concludes that there is a growing understanding of where acupuncture may be useful in improving patient health outcomes alongside standard medical care; conclusions which sparked a heated and mixed debate.

In response to this article, ‘Acupuncture research – the path least scientific?‘ was published, which argues that evidence for acupuncture is shaky, and even when the trials are good, it doesn’t matter where or how deeply needles are inserted, or indeed whether they are inserted at all. The authors conclude that when tested properly, from a scientific viewpoint, acupuncture doesn’t work. This sparked fierce debate, resulting in comments being closed by moderators to prevent the online discussions getting out of hand.

So where do you stand on the acupuncture debate? Is it a case of waiting for the true benefit of acupuncture to emerge as the clinical trials become more sophisticated, or are we really looking to elucidate where exactly the ‘magic’ comes from when an acupuncturist treats somebody in pain?

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