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Accupuncture

Eddie Mair | 17:42 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2007

What do you think?

Comments

  1. At 05:39 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Wonderful.

    Is this about the report that says even placebo acupuncture needles (whatever they may be? Blunt ones? Sewing needles? Ones with the chi drained out?) are more effective at relieving back pain than conventional medicine, or words to that effect?

  2. At 05:44 PM on 25 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    It's better than a poke in the side with a sharp... no, never mind.

  3. At 05:46 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Janet Thornton wrote:

    The man who spoke against acupuncture showed a shameful bias aginst alternative forms of medical treatment. Acupuncture is not theatrical and it is not complicated. If those are the only things he can come up with, his bias is completely irrational and bigoted. If you are going to argue against something, it is assumed that scientific argument requires rational amd logical statements. Theatrical is neither rational nor logical as a statement about anything.

  4. At 05:48 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Christine Cook wrote:

    With regards to accupuncture, I have had many treatments of it, for asthma and backpain and it does work and it does relax ther body, and really feels as though it has helped, I have had chiropracter treatment and always afterwards have had accupuncture which has relaxed the body after treatment. I think it would be an excellent alternative treatment alongside conventional medical treatment, I am sure that alternative treatments from experience work and should be more widely used in health centres.
    Christine Cook

  5. At 05:50 PM on 25 Sep 2007, hambatroyd wrote:

    What a brilliant endorsement of evidence based medicine by your interviewee; 'my anecdotal experience is better than any large properly conducted study'

    All too typical of non-medical types, but all too many medics also. Enthusiasts who won't take no for an answer...

  6. At 05:50 PM on 25 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Janet (3), And the man who spoke in favor of acupuncture was, er, in favor of it. Sounds fair to me.

  7. At 05:52 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Dominic wrote:

    Also what is the obsessive repetition of acupuncture is an expensive option about?
    Does it cost more than the GP or cognitive behaviour therapy? If you're paying your acupuncturist more than your GP then its a rare acupuncturist.

  8. At 05:55 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Doug Gowan wrote:

    Excellent to hear from the great dane owner who had successful acupuncture treatment for arthritis. The 'it's only a placebo' brigade don't seem to be aware that acupuncture - and homeopathy - are widely used with animals, and indeed young children . My 18 month old son was cured of acute asthma by complementary medicine when he couldn't have known he was being treated.

  9. At 05:57 PM on 25 Sep 2007, katie oliver wrote:

    Oh dear another doctor who thinks that his is the only hand which should touch the pulse of the nation. Modern medicine has done much to improve the nations health but it jeopardises it's authority by wailing every time new research comes out confirming the benefits of anything which is not classed as orthodox medicine. Medicine of any type is an art as well as science because it deals with bodies which do not respond uniformly to any intervention - no matter how scientifically applied, unfortunately some Drs these days have forgotton that.

  10. At 06:01 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Natasha Flores wrote:

    In support of J Thornton's comments and as a current student of TCM Acupuncture, I am also baffled by the use of the terms theatrical and complicated; and further concerned that the speaker against Acupuncture believes the treatment to be "expensive". Apart from the practitioner's time (which would be at most equivalent and probably considerably cheaper than the time currently provided via a conventional NHS treatment) the only other non-comparable cost is that of the needles (about £3 a box of 100). I am bewildered by how this could be considered an expensve alternative to conventional drug treatments.

  11. At 06:03 PM on 25 Sep 2007, David wrote:

    I would take issue with your speaker, Ben Goldacre,) who, if I recall correctly, said that 90% of back problems are physcosymatic disorders. What planet is he on? Whilst I would agree that there are alot of shmucks out there that want to sit around and skive off work everyday (and thereby make the problem even worse), the tall human being is prone to damage because we pick up things we cannot cope with. Damage, however you describe it - a 'slip', a squash, a crunch, or whatever, it's very real and the nerve problems cause are very real - this equals pain. It is quite frankly stupid to make this sort of statement. I see from his background that he is very into the machinations of the brain - so I can see his angle. I would applaud any publicity that trashes 'bad science', spooky doctors, rubbish medicines etc - good on you. I exercise and try to help myself (no acupuncture yet, but maybe give it go... chiropractor every other year and swim, ski, play golf etc). But never tell me my back ache of 20 years is imaginary. OK?

  12. At 06:03 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris McCOY wrote:

    It would be interesting to know what research the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and similar nations have compiled over the years with regards to treatments such as Acupuncture.

    It is very true that persons also take a view, and approach a subject with that preferred view, so being biased no matter what the evidence presented.

    It is also the case that, quantum mechanically speaking, the very attitude and perspective of a person may give rise to certain results and/or interpretations in the measurements that are obtained (including at the so-called macroscopic level).

    Personal tactile/tangible experience has suggested that so-called Chi/Ki/Prana may exist. It is also potentially true that this could be a very strong "psychological" invention, but experiential evidence is less supportive of this. However, this is a topic which receives strong prejudice from many at the current time, especially who would consider their manners to be construed as 'scientific", and so its serious consideration is unscientifically (or in reality, "scientifically!") sidelined.

    Acupuncture and many such alternative healing practices have many benefits, and ALL are the same at a deeper level of origin and understanding, quantum mechanically/planck-lengthly and so on, as any and all other physical phenomena, whether chemicals, charge potentials, or any other medicinely-related methods employed by formal medicine.

    All the Best!

  13. At 06:05 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Sue Bruce wrote:

    Janet (3): I think his point was that a non-accupunturist randomly sticking needles in shallower than an accupuncturist would, achieved results as impressive as the accupunturist. My understanding of what he said was that accupuncture may work, but does so only on a placebo basis, and that if the NHS is going to fund placebo treatments, it should choose the cheapest ones.

  14. At 06:19 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Ray Mitcham wrote:

    I suffered pain in my left ankle for many years. Whilst having treatment on a (right) knee injury, the out patient doctor asked if I had ever tried acupuncture. I said no but was prepared to try it. He gave me four needles in my ankle for about ten minutes. Since then no pain.

  15. At 06:21 PM on 25 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Just a thought, but is accupuncture during a winter eve power cut....a stab in the dark?

  16. At 06:22 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    My father, when he was alive, found acupuncture to be the only treatment that was effective in controlling spinal pan, and I have also found that regular acupuncture has helped with the pain of arthritis. In fact, I thought its role in pain control was by now well accepted by the medical profession.

  17. At 06:24 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Alida Bedford wrote:

    I have used Chinese acupuncture successfully for asthma and other health conditions that require rebalance of the system. I originally asked my GP at the time about acupuncture for helping with asthma as she practised western acupuncture. She said that I would need to have Chinese acupuncture as this deals with systemic problems. I am very glad that I tried it and would recommend it 100%.

    It is, of course, important to find a qualified practitioner who belongs to a recognised organization, eg the British Acupuncture Society. Needles are not always used as there are machines that are as appropriate. My practitioner uses sonic. You can give blood after acupuncture (needle variety) as long as the practitioner has given you a valid certificate and you are healthy.

    I believe it is vital that patients have a choice of treatments. We are all different and have our own needs. I hope that the NHS will soon offer Chinese acupuncture. I can afford to pay, but many people who might benefit cannot.

  18. At 06:27 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eddie;
    I think that you can't spell 'Acupuncture'.

    My SO is a practising acupuncturist. I'm a born sceptic.

    Or rather I was.

    A couple of years ago I had a bout of excruciating back pain, so bad I could barely stand or walk at all. After nagging me for two days to have some acupuncture (knowing that I break into a cold sweat at the sight of a needle) she pinned me to the lounge floor, face down, then stuck around a half-dozen needles into my lower back. Made me lie still for around twenty minutes (it only FELT like an age!). Whipped them out again. Showed them to me (40 mm long, they felt like they had gone clean through me....). Watched my misery with something approaching genuine pleasure as she explained that they really DO go all the way in, up to the grip.

    24 hours later the pain was totally gone.

    I'm still mildly sceptical and don't understand all the meridian guff at all. But it worked for me.

    One point worth knowing; the registration which becomes compulsory next year (with the A.A.C.P. for physiotherapists, for example) is on the Western basis of acupucture, involving pain-gate theories, not on the original Oriental meridian theory. So any practitioner (like herself) who uses Oriental ideas has to either re-learn from scratch or b*llsh*t their way through the registration process. Cost around £500 to get registered, then £80 p.a. to stay registered.

    I know that the public has to be protected from charlatans, but this is taking the Mick.

    Si.

  19. At 06:32 PM on 25 Sep 2007, ben goldacre wrote:

    hi there, ben here, i was in this piece on the radio a moment ago, and i've just popped a whole load of references on this fascinating subject up at badscience.net if anyone's interested.

    www.badscience.net

  20. At 06:34 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    If accupuncture works for an individual whose back has gone "ouch", it's got to be worth a try: back pain is something that makes people desperately unhappy, and anything to make it go away is good.

    If it works for only four months, that's still better than nothing, or than an aspirin.

    If a study has shown that it did work in a high percentage of cases (more than conventional medicine did, or than the placebo did), then anyone who tries to say "but it doesn't work" when refering to that study is just being silly, and can surely be ignored.

    I'd've thought that last was true whether one had ever had accupuncture treatment or not, to be honest.

  21. At 06:37 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Allan Leroy wrote:

    There are many ways of doing acupuncture. The traditional Chinese method relies on body maps and precise point location. There is much evidence now to show that other forms of acupuncture involving brief and shallow needling at tender points and other "non-acupuncture" points are just as effective and in many cases more effective than the traditional method, particularly when dealing with musculoskeletal pain. Just as conventional medicine includes a number of ways of treating illnesses and injuries, this recent study underlines the fact that different ways of inserting needles into the skin will have an effect. The traditional way is not the only way.

  22. At 06:45 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Kerry Caldock wrote:

    The most pertinent fact emerging from the interviews remained, to my mind, unchallenged. We were told that the acupuncture and the sham acupuncture both proved superior in beneficial effect (50% improved) to the conventional treatment (25% improved). The conventional treatments must by definition have been through clinical trials before their use, have the usual range of adverse events and side effects and may also be costly. One thus begins to wonder at the zeal of the 'bad science doc' in ethically derogating essentially harmless treatment whether placebo or not. Sounds like an emotional reponse, or 'bad science' to me.

  23. At 06:47 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Oops - that's what comes of taking your attention off PM for even a few seconds. Missed the item.

  24. At 07:00 PM on 25 Sep 2007, John Henson wrote:

    Sad to see that so many posters are quoting their own anecdotal evidence for acupuncture working when any benefit that the patient feels clearly comes entirely through the placebo effect.

    Dr David Colquhoun has put it so much better than I can when he said

    "Suppose that a treatment owes all its effectiveness to the placebo effect. But in some people, at least, the placebo effect is quite real. It may be a genuine physical response, though one that does not depend in any activity of the drug, or other treatment.

    If the placebo effect is real, it would be wrong to deprive patients of them, if there is nothing more effective available. For example, if terminal cancer patients say they feel better after having their feet tickled by a 'reflexologist', why should they not have that small pleasure?

    If the foregoing argument is granted, then it follows that it would be our duty to maximise the placebo effect. In the absence of specific research, it seems reasonable to suppose that individuals who are susceptible to placebo effects, will get the best results if their treatment is surrounded by as much impressive mumbo jumbo as possible.

    This suggests that, in order to maximize the placebo effect, it will be important to lie to the patient as much as possible, and certainly to disguise from them the fact that, for example, their homeopathic pill contains nothing but lactose.

    Therein lies the dilemma. The whole trend in medicine has been to be more open with the patient and to tell them the truth. To maximize the benefit of alternative medicine, it is necessary to lie to the patient as much as possible."

  25. At 07:03 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Steve Jones wrote:

    In support of acupuncture, we've just started fostering a seven year old Dobermann with Spondulosis (sp?) and arthritis. His medical records show little meaningful response to drugs for several years but a short course of acupuncture led to a dramatic improvement in his condition. We have continued the treatment.
    Now Jay is an intelligent dog, but like the Great Dane cited on the programme today I doubt that he was swayed by the placebo effect, he did not even seem to notice the needles going in.

  26. At 07:29 PM on 25 Sep 2007, hambatroyd wrote:

    I don't think Ben Goldacre did trash acupuncture. Wasn't he was saying that if you ignore the conventional treatment arm in the study, then real acupuncture was no better than sham acupuncture. Therefore it isn't the acupucture that is making the difference, its the psychosocial intervention of seeing an acupuncturist. So he is right to say that maybe other such non-tablet interventions similarly work.
    That being said, I understand that actual evidence for real acupuncture isn't entirely lacking (prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting for example) and if it works for some people with back pain then fair enough, but perhaps its not down to realignment of your mocca-latte as has been claimed.

  27. At 07:30 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Electric Dragon wrote:

    If a scientific test shows that "fake" acupuncture is just as good as "real" acupuncture, doesn't that blow the whole "theoretical" basis of it out of the window? Science progresses by experiment and evidence: when better treatments come along, less good treatments are discarded, or limited to special cases -like leeches. When was the last time a so-called "alternative" therapy was discarded because it didn't work, or modified because somebody discovered a better way of doing it?

    Homeopathy was set in stone over 200 years ago. Medical science has moved on hugely. Antiseptics. Anaesthetics. Antibiotics. Organ transplants. IVF. Keyhole surgery. MRI scans.

    Acupunturists talk about diverting the flow of qi energy. What is qi energy? How do we measure its flow? ("Ooh, it can't be measured" say the acupuncturists. Then how do they know it is there, or flowing in any sense?) If qi is only affected by needles in particular special points, why do needles in different places work? Why pay for a trained acupuncturist when you can get a trainee to stick the needles in any old place?

    Did you hear about the homeopath who drank a glass of pure water? He died of an overdose.

  28. At 07:42 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    Thanks Ben, (19).

    I was referred to an acupucturist for moxybustion to turn my first baby in the womb at 36 weeks. It was immensely theatrical - almost literally smoke and mirrors. I was sent away with a moxybustion stick to play with at home. Cost a fortune, made me feel ill and had no effect on baby who stayed the wrong way up.

    This anecdote proves nothing one way or the other. The detailed, peer reviewed research outlined by Ben proves a lot more.

  29. At 07:58 PM on 25 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    ben (19)

    forgive my humour!, thanks for the references.

    may i be so bold as to suggest you visit the beach?

    DIY

  30. At 08:59 PM on 25 Sep 2007, JB wrote:

    Could PM get a eastern philosopher and a western philosopher to explain their

    Views of these research methods? Who’s vested interest is being served?
    This puts allopathic medico and GPs treatment in perspective. If eighty per cent of conditions are psychosocial. Why do GPs prescribe so many expensive drugs? Go and get a cheap placebo? This is how this type of logic will play. Patient centered medicine or point scoring.
    There acupressure and tapping DIY these are dead cheap. Cost about a fact sheet.
    I had terrible sleep problems my GP wasn’t able to help. She has sorted out other health issues. This should not be for or against argument it should be a cooperative.
    She is a good doctor and she does listen! She is a very nice person. Paid for by NHS stamp.
    The Chinese acupuncturist was able to help and she struggles with my working class accent. I got rid of a patch of eczema.

    She is a very nice person.
    It would be interesting to see how stammering treatment fares in this debate?
    TV show here.
    GPs or Acupuncture. This type of arguing and point scoring is not of help to those in need.Ethical?
    Get the philosophers to show an equation of who benefits.
    If this form of TCM is nonsense it will reflect badly on the whole of TCM.
    So does this also mean that TCM herbs will not be investigated by drugs companies and exploited for their potential. Special pleading.

  31. At 09:04 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Dominic @ 7 wrote

    "Does [acupuncture] cost more than the GP or cognitive behaviour therapy? If you're paying your acupuncturist more than your GP then its a rare acupuncturist."

    I don't pay the GP anything, so I would suggest that any acupuncturist who charges at all is costing me more than my GP does.

    I still have to pay for the GP, of course, because I have no choice about paying for the NHS on the tax-bill, and I expect that the NHS costs me a lot more than an acupuncturist would, but since I'd be paying the same for the NHS anyway I think the cash-on-the-nail is the point, and in that respect a GP is free.

  32. At 09:48 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Sigmar wrote:

    "Accupuncture: What do you think?"


    It's a prickly issue !

    Sigmar
    http://battlereporter.blogspot.com

  33. At 10:55 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Acupuncture - excellent for curing water retention.

    Sid

  34. At 11:16 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris Brown wrote:

    As I understand it Ben Goldacre made it clear that he did recognise that placebo effect treatments such as accupuncture can work, but (aside from questions of cost) there would be a difficult ethical dilemma for the NHS if doctors were to give treatments that were effective for psychosocial rather than purely medical reasons. Could the patients be considered to be giving informed consent?

  35. At 11:18 PM on 25 Sep 2007, Chris Brown wrote:

    As I understand it Ben Goldacre made it clear that he did recognise that placebo effect treatments such as accupuncture can work, but (aside from questions of cost) there would be a difficult ethical dilemma for the NHS if doctors were to give treatments that were effective for psychosocial rather than purely medical reasons. Could the patients be considered to be giving informed consent?

  36. At 12:18 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    I agree with Simon W - I think it's spelt 'Acupuncture'!

    We have a Veterinary Acupuncturist at work and is definitely has a role to play in pain control. Some animals respond far better to Acupuncture than to conventional medicines so it can't just be placebo. I'm less convinced about its' use for eg wound healing or pruritus (itchiness), in animals at least.

  37. At 02:07 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Joanna wrote:

    I've had quite a lot of acupuncture by 3 different acupuncturists for an arthritic hip and have to say that I have found that only the first session or two of a series of treatments ever did any good. I have put this down ultimately to the endorphins my body produced as a result of having my body invaded with a twisted needle.
    But my body must have been less impressed by the initial placebo than my psyche, and quickly learned to stop responding in a positive way.

    I have heard of another study like the one mentioned on the programme (in the US) that indicated that the positioning of the needless was irrelevant - it seems to be enough merely to breach the fascia.

    I think, contrary to the sentiments voiced in many of the comments here, that we are in danger of being altogether too sinophile and being too ready to snort that Western Medical Science doesn't have all the answers. The truth is, life expectancy in China rose greatly when antibiotics were introduced there.

    The concept of qi (or chi) flowing along meridians (jingluo) is just total baloney, in my view, and we should definitely subject the whole methodology to rigorous tests, whether investigating the supposed therapeutic effects of acupuncture or so-called qigong / ch'i kung.

  38. At 06:05 AM on 26 Sep 2007, eddie mair wrote:

    Simon (18) - you are right. The perils of creating a page while live on air and having only about ten seconds in which to do so. Not that that explains my stupidity of course...

    I was 502'd. Of course.

  39. At 06:31 AM on 26 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    JB (30):

    Why on Earth would you ask philosophers (of any direction) for their views on scientific research?

    The only useful thing you can do with philosophers is retrain them to do some useful work for a change. I fear they may be untrainable though.

    Unless you're talking about Natural Philosophers, but these days they're called scientists, the alternative ones presumably having been unnatural philosophers...

  40. At 09:39 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Elaine Hamer wrote:

    Regarding the article PM acupuncture 25-9-07 your speaker mentioned the current advice for back sufferers to maintain a level of activity rather than remain immobile - "rest". I failed to note the speakers name and title. I would appreciate contact details of the speaker to incorporate to a report on the condition of my own back following a high speed car crash, subsequent double spinal fusion and now chronic nerve damage.

  41. At 09:43 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    It was a rather pointed debate!

    (don't worry, I'll get mey coat...)

  42. At 10:30 AM on 26 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    FF - Oh! you're sharp!

  43. At 11:52 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SSC (38),

    "The only useful thing you can do with philosophers is retrain them to do some useful work for a change. "
    Meoooow!
    "I fear they may be untrainable though."
    Like cats?

    Most great scientists eventually turn into rubbish philosophers.

    xx
    ed
    (a lapsed sciencist (sic))

  44. At 11:58 AM on 26 Sep 2007, Ross Chisholm wrote:

    My advice for back pain sufferers is to get a scan asap. I was treated for 4 months in 2005 for mechanical back pain, including acupuncture. The pain got worse until I was almost immobile. My wife pestered the NHS for a scan. It identified an abscess in a disc. I was rushed to hospital and they caught it just in time. Seven weeks on my back on IV. I was told I was lucky to recover.
    I don't want anyone else to suffer as I did.
    Get a scan, if that reveals no infection, try acupuncture, or whatever you like.

  45. At 12:20 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ross Chisholm wrote:

    I tried acupuncture for my back pain two years ago. No success. The pain got worse. Other treatments were similarly unsuccessful. My wife pestered my GP and the local hospital for a scan. When I had one after four months suffering, it revealed an abscess in a disc. I was rushed into hospital and spent 7 weeks on my back on IV antibiotics. They found the infection just before it spread int the spine. They told me I was lucky to recover.
    My advice to all back pain sufferers is to get a scan asap. If it reveals no infection, try acupuncture or whatever you prefer. I don't want anyone else to have to suffer as I did.

  46. At 01:18 PM on 26 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Ed (43):

    Sorry, but I have no time for philosophy.

    Question: "Why are we here?"

    Answer 1: "Where would you like to be?"

    Answer 2: "We're the end product of a chain of events dictated by random chance and the laws of physics. Would you like to discuss statistics?"

    Answer 3: "Why do you ask?"

    Most great scientists eventually turn into rubbish philosophers.

    "Consider the metaphysical imagery inherent in this discarded chip-wrapper..."

  47. At 02:17 PM on 26 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Ed (43):

    Sorry, but I have no time for philosophy.

    Question: "Why are we here?"

    Answer 1: "Where would you like to be?"

    Answer 2: "We're the end product of a chain of events dictated by random chance and the laws of physics. Would you like to discuss statistics?"

    Answer 3: "Why do you ask?"

    Most great scientists eventually turn into rubbish philosophers.

    "Consider the metaphysical imagery inherent in this discarded chip-wrapper..."

  48. At 04:18 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    Eddie (38). There's smoke and a smell of burning coming from your underpants. Your spelling of acupuncture had nothing to do with creating a blog page in ten seconds while still on air. You spelled acupunture incorrectly in your introduction to the piece and in the scripted trail for 4.30pm. And in the 5.30 trail as well, I seem to remember.

    Roger (Tuesday's editor)

  49. At 04:20 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SSC (38),

    "The only useful thing you can do with philosophers is retrain them to do some useful work for a change. "
    Meoooow!
    "I fear they may be untrainable though."
    Like cats?

    Most great scientists eventually turn into rubbish philosophers.

    xx
    ed
    (a lapsed sciencist (sic))

    NOW I GET A NEW MESSAGE FROM IMMOVABLE TYPE:
    No ObjectDriver defined at /home/system/cgi-perl/mt/lib/MT/Object.pm line 144.

  50. At 04:22 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SSC (38),

    "The only useful thing you can do with philosophers is retrain them to do some useful work for a change. "
    Meoooow!
    "I fear they may be untrainable though."
    Like cats?

    Most great scientists eventually turn into rubbish philosophers.

    xx
    ed
    (a lapsed sciencist (sic))

  51. At 04:24 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    Eddie (38). There's smoke and a smell of burning coming from your underpants. Your spelling of acupuncture had nothing to do with creating a blog page in ten seconds while still on air. You spelled acupunture incorrectly in your introduction to the piece and in the scripted trail for 4.30pm. And in the 5.30 trail as well, I seem to remember.

    Roger (Tuesday's editor)

  52. At 04:28 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    My advice to back-pain sufferers is to get a book by Doctor Sarno.

    xx
    ed

  53. At 04:50 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Roger (51),

    Did you realise you were 'forbidden'?

    Guarded by a large 403 dog.

    Thanks for letting down the side...;)
    ed

  54. At 05:29 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Well, posting here is an exercise in futility most of the time, but here goes again...

    Roger @ 48 and/or 51, does that count as tales out of school?

    SSC in several places the same post, when you say "Sorry, but I have no time for philosophy. " have you looked at the definition in a fairly ordinary dictionary?

    "pursuit of wisdom or knowledge; investigation of the nature of being; the principles underlying any department of knowledge; reasoning; a partlicular philosophical system; calmness of temper"...

    Are you cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-die certain that you have no time for *any* of that?

  55. At 06:29 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Roger (48 & 51) hahaha!

  56. At 07:08 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Donald wrote:

    I found your discussion on acupuncture fascinating and amusing. The sceptic was wonderfully predictable. Though I have not read this latest trial but I have read a few from the German hospital before. and feel I should comment.

    First; the patients used in these trials are often those that western allopathic medicine cannot help and the patients have had no relief from various conventional methods.

    second; Acupuncture is an invasive therapy and as such you cannot pretend to put in a needle you either do or do not. So sham acupuncture is a ridiculous thing to do.

    third; It wasn't that long ago that I was listening on the radio to some Dr who had pretended to do an operation on some patients knees and they had shown great healing & recovery so where does that put your sceptic?

    fourth; The Complementary and Alternative therapies do not fall into the Drug therapy Random Control Trial method of research so until a method of research can be developed/ discovered that allows these kinds of therapies to be researched properly and fairly then we will be stuck with this situation.

    fifth; There is no money in the CAM therapies for the pharmaceutical companies and they have an awful lot of power in lobbying and pressure that they wield to great effect in discrediting such therapies, yet it is interesting to note that when they find a herb that they have distilled and either found a use for it or decocted it incorrectly and discovered that it is harmful they either use it or have it banned and either way we can nolonger use the herbas they patent it.

    six; 2-3000 people in this country alone every year die from misuse or otherwise of Non Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs alone you don't hear Dr's calling for them to be banned or restricted.

    sseven; the psycho-social aspects of treatment are alrady in place in medicine today so your sceptic was just baffling those not in the know.

    eight; In all the research that has to date taken place the research group is never similar to those of a regular RCT e.g. How many adverts do you see for Drugs trials asking for HEALTHY VOLUNTEERS? All of them! Our researchers get the patients that have suffered for a longtime and whose illness is now so far gone that it is no wonder there is little can be done for them.

    and lastly (for now) the placebo effect is constantly there in all forms of medicine regardless and cannot be erradicated from any interaction. So to bleat on about how CAM therapies areno better than a placebo is pathetic when western medicine has used placebo for many years and that is fine. Also why is it that science can set the rules for all of this and then change the goal posts everytime they discover something new??? Was not thalidimide safe? co-proximol? and how many other drugs?
    Chinese Medicine and to that extent western herbal medicine offer real treatments for real conditions with positive outcomes both for patients and PCT's bank balances alike. We are cheaper than the majority of drug therapies used for long term patients.

    regards
    Donald Kerr

  57. At 08:08 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Donald @ 56, thank you.

    I've been following this thread, and one of the things that keeps coming into my mind is the matter of side-effects. I know (my life do I ever know!) about the chance that any given drug prescribed by a conventional doctor may make me feel ill, or produce this or that unpleasant symptom; a recent visit to hospital for something that yes, did need to be dealt with and was, gave me three conditions I hadn't had before I went in, one of them potentially lethal.

    What I want to know is what the side-effects are of acupuncture? What percentage of people who have this treatment will not only not get better, but also be made worse in other ways? There must be some cases in which the needles have been infected: how many, as a percentage? These are the questions which I think you have raised at least to some extent about "conventional medicine"; have they been raised about the alternatives?

  58. At 09:05 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Bill Cunningham wrote:

    Speaking as a hypnotherapist who has been in practise for a number of years I can "reveal" to you that almost all alternative treatment rely on suggestion. The practitioners may not be aware of the fact and may be highly accomplished at their methods but it is the power of suggestion that is at the root of success. How else could "fake" acupunture work?

  59. At 11:40 PM on 26 Sep 2007, Donald Kerr wrote:

    Did you know that only 13-27% of all NHS treatments have been derived through RCT's all other treatments have been approved through anecdotal evidence. Also if we were to discover general anaesthetic today it would not be allowed into our hospitals as we DO NOT know how it works and it cannot be proved other than anecdotally. Also mercury amalgam fillings used widely by dentists would not be sanctioned as they can and do leak mercury into the blood system.

    People should be better informed by the media with some honest reporting e.g. the reporting of the acupuncture clinic in north Finchley some years back giving people Hepatitis B was actually a private medical clinic run by a western medical Dr who was taking blood from patients mixing that with saline solution (unfortunately in this case an infected set of vials) and then re injected back into the patient on acupuncture points! This has nothing whatsoever to do with acupuncture of any kind that I know of. Unfortunately however in the present climate of power and money struggles and fear of anything different the dis/misinformation that is peddled from groups that have a vested interest in the outcomes seems to be winning via poor media reportage.

    Also, all you people who seem to love the RCT's and drugs etc so much; who do you think pays for the research into the drugs which are then sold to you? who do you think pays the Dr's that come and speak out on behalf of the drug therapies and companies?

    Think about it.

  60. At 01:00 PM on 27 Sep 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Bill (58) so how does Acupuncture work on cats & dogs then?

  61. At 03:44 PM on 27 Sep 2007, Steve Reynolds wrote:

    The safety of acupuncture practiced in the UK is remarkable.

    There have been three surveys in the last six years which have shown that acupuncture is amongst the safest therapies in use in the UK today. Out of 68,000 recorded treatments in two of the 2001 surveys, there were only 14 minor (bruising, feeling nauseous) adverse events. There have been very few reports of serious adverse events, and most adverse effects are transient, lasting no more than a day or so.

    Compare that to the number of iatrogenic (illnesses or side effects) conditions that cause death from conventional medicine every day.

    Steve

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