Why you should consider acupuncture

Acupuncture has been clinically ascertained as safe and effective in the relief of chronic pain as a stand-alone or adjunct therapy.

Full article here: Acupuncture for Pain – The American Journal of Medicine 2015

“Approximately one-third of Americans suffer from chronic pain, debilitating affected individuals and families and costing the US economy more than half a trillion dollars annually. Millions fail to find adequate relief through commonly  prescribed medical interventions. Many of these treatment options, moreover, carry considerable financial costs or risk of side effects. Patients seeking relief through less expensive, less toxic, and more holistic approaches may turn to various forms of complementary and alternative medicine. And yet, such alternative interventions generally lack robust clinical evidence to support their efficacy and often extend beyond the purview of mainstream medicine. Consequently, many doctors hesitate to recommend such treatments, leaving patients to find care on their own. Unlike most complementary and alternative medicine options, acupuncture has been clinically ascertained as safe and effective in the relief of chronic pain as a stand-alone or adjunct therapy. Despite potential side effects (eg, infection and local hematoma), the Joint Clinical Practice Guideline of the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recognizes  acupuncture as a viable treatment for several forms of chronic pain; the Canadian and European guidelines echo the same sentiment. Regardless, in our experience, many a practitioner tends to equate the therapeutic benefits to “mere” placebo effects and thus relegates acupuncture to the fringes of clinical medicine.

Whether or not acupuncture operates largely via placebo mechanisms, research findings propose that real and sham acupuncture may outperform standard medical care. As such, the clinical outcomes are sound according to standards of evidence-based medicine, let alone patient experience. Pain is highly responsive to placebo treatments and contextual cues. Clinicians acknowledge that psychological factors and placebos diminish assay sensitivity for analgesics. Moreover, the dramatic role of placebos extends beyond the field of pain. For example, cumulative metaanalytic findings reveal that antidepressants – backbone drugs of modern psychiatry – are clinically comparable to placebos for the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression. As well, other common drugs, including antihypertensives, antianginals, postinfarction beta-blockers, antihistamines, and nonsteroidal asthma prophylactics, frequently  perform on par with placebos in well-designed trials.

Physicians should therefore entertain the full therapeutic spectrum of acupuncture – placebo and beyond – to foster pain regulation.”