Monday, April 07, 2008

Fake acupuncture works better than real acupuncture

Orac discusses a recent study in the Clinical Journal of Pain that compared the effects of "real" acupuncture (with real needles) to fake acupuncture (with needles with blunt ends that retract after hitting the skin, and do not puncture it) on test subjects between 2001 and 2003.

The result:
Both treatment groups, "true" and sham acupuncture, experienced decreases in the intensity of arm pain, arm symptoms, and noted improvement in arm function. However, patients in the sham acupuncture group improved more than patients in the "true" acupuncture group in the intensity of arm pain and just as much in measures of arm function and grip strength. The difference between the two groups was not sustained at a followup visit one month after the treatment ended, although the improvement in both groups remained detectable compared to baseline. Indeed, arm pain and arm symptoms scores declined faster in the sham compared with the "true" acupuncture group.

In this study, which was the largest, best-designed trial thus far for acupuncture for arm pain due to RSI, sham acupuncture was better than "real" acupuncture!

Read the details at Orac's Respectful Insolence blog.

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