Normal care consists of pain killers and anti inflammatory medication. The placebo treatment is one which uses a needle type object to press on but not penetrate the skin. This sort of protocol was developed to see if acupuncture research trials could be carried out in the same way as drug trials. In a drug trial an inert chalk pill can be swopped for the active drug. However, NUMEROUS trials using placebo acupuncture have shown that it is often as effective as the real treatment. The conclusion from this is that the placebo is NOT inert like a chalk pill. It is in fact similar to Japanese style acupuncture which can use pressure techniques as part of the treatment.
Southampton University worked alongside other international researchers to evaluate twenty nine different Acupuncture studies and which covered nearly eighteen thousand patients. Their conclusion was that Acupuncture was more effective than medication in treating chronic pain.
I can’t tell you what a fantastic development this is in helping to build up acupuncture’s credibility within a western medical framework. In the past, studies have had between fifty and a few hundred patients. These are far too small on their own to give any firm indication of how valid the research results are. But by combining and analysing twenty nine studies, which gave a total of nearly 18,000 patients, more confidence can be placed on the results.
Chronic pain patients account for about 80% of my work. Some of them have been taking up to 20 pills a day but they have still been in pain. Thank goodness acupuncture is becoming more widely recognised as a valid alternative treatment.