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I was wondering if any of you had any thoughts on the scientific verification of the ancient practice of "eastern medicine?" In particular, the flow of "chi" through the body. The "chi" meridians are said to be located between the circulatory and nervous systems. I believe that there is a documentable "energy" that runs through the body. I would not call it a classical "spirit" though....

According to the National Council Against Health Fraud:

1. Acupuncture is an unproven modality of treatment. 2. Its theory and practice are based on primitive and fanciful concepts of health and disease that bear no relationship to present scientific knowledge 3. Research during the past 20 years has not demonstrated that acupuncture is effective against any disease. 4. Perceived effects of acupuncture are probably due to a combination of expectation, suggestion, counter-irritation, conditioning, and other psychologic mechanisms. 5. The use of acupuncture should be restricted to appropriate research settings, 6. Insurance companies should not be required by law to cover acupuncture treatment, 7. Licensure of lay acupuncturists should be phased out. 8. Consumers who wish to try acupuncture should discuss their situation with a knowledgeable physician who has no commercial interest.

In short, accupuncture, accupressure, therapeutic touch - all those methods that claim to manipulate energy fields in the human body - have failed when subjected to well-designed, controlled tests.

knowledgeable physicians have no "commercial" interest? That's pretty funny. I wonder what kind of money is tied up in the "National Council Against Health Fraud." The Asians have been studying "chi" for thousnds of years. I think there is something to it. I would agree that anyone could just set up a shop and bilk stupid people out of money..... that happens everyday. I think "chi" is a scientifically documentable force that can be manipulated.

I just found this.... I don't know how reputable the "mayo clinic" is....

Interesting how you're willing to dismiss physicians when they don't give you the answers you want to hear, but immediately latch onto some obscure study done at Mayo Clinic as long as it confirms your own belief in woo.

The Mayo Clinic study had one very obvious flaw - it wasn't a double blind study. Unlike a drug trial in which neither the experimenter nor the patient knows who receives the experimental drug and who receives the placebo, there's no way to prevent an accupuncture recipient from knowing whether or not they've been stuck with a needle. The author claims that this study rules out a placebo effect, but just from that little article, it's not at all clear how you could do that from this study. If the experimental group knew they had received accupuncture, you can't rule out placebo effect.

All of that aside, nothing in that article says anything about your belief in "chi". Just because people have believed in something for thousands of years doesn't mean it has any basis in reality. Look at how many people have believed that Jesus was born of a virgin for thousands of years...

If you want a better designed experiment that looks at energy fields in the body, just Google "Emily Rosa." Hint: Her work was published in a peer reviewed journal - not bad for an 11 year old.

I am an acupuncturist and and atheist. And, truthfully, it is sometimes hard to reconcile the two. Here is what I can tell you.

First of all, I have never heard of the National Council Against Health Fraud, but I do know that there are a lot of professional skeptics who receive funding to debunk competitors for the medical dollar. Don't believe that? Just look at this week's Newsweek magazine cover story. In much the same way that professional debunkers try to downplay the effects of Global Warming ,or the health risks associated with cigarrette smoking, some individuals and organizations also try to debunk alternative medical modalities for similar reasons.

Acupuncture works. That much I know from nearly 15 years of clinical experience. But it is not just clinical experience, it is also evidence based research. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) which is ANYTHING but a fringe group, spcifically advocates for acupuncture in the treatment of pain.

Does it work consistently, every time without fail? No.

But what medical modality does? Certainly not western medicine. And, unlike western medicine, acupuncture has a very low casualty rate.

The question is not whether it works. That is documented, and more solid medical research is coming. The question is WHY it works. Is there Qi? Are the theories upon which Chinese Medicine is based real or accurate? Or does it work by some other mechanism that is not yet fully understood?

The TRUTH is, I don't know. But I don't really need to know. I see waht happens clinically and I feel generally satisfied with the results. I don't know how a television works. I am absolutely clueless, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work, just because I can't personally explain it. And it certainly does not preclude me from enjoying a little Monday Night Football, or Conan O'Brien from time to time.

If you are an acupuncture Naysayer, as Rationa_Jen appears to be, please remember that being rational means being open to all the information that is available, and also remaining open to the possibility that there is more information to be discovered that is yet unknown. And for goodness sakes, don't listen to skeptics with agendas. The medical wars are real.

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