The Zoomer Report: Acupuncture Latest

Here’s the latest evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture. A review of more than two dozen studies gives it a thumbs-up for helping relieve pain from chronic headaches, backaches and arthritis. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether you get a placebo or the real thing.

Scientists from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and several universities in England and Germany examined 29 studies involving 18,000 adults. They concluded that the needle remedy worked better than usual pain treatment and slightly better than fake acupuncture.

In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves inserting long, very thin needles just beneath the skin’s surface at specific points on the body to control pain or stress. Fake acupuncture studied in research sometimes also uses needles, but on different areas of the body.

Scientists aren’t sure what biological mechanism could explain how acupuncture might relieve pain, but the study authors say the results suggest there’s more involved than just a placebo effect.

Bottom line, they say the results provide the best evidence to date that acupuncture is a good option for a range of conditions and uncertainty over how it works shouldn’t stop doctors from offering it to patients struggling with pain.

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report

Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.