Insights into Biomedicine from the Study of Acupuncture


Fifty years ago no traditional doctor would have looked seriously at acupuncture let alone recommended its treatment. Recently my NHS consultant in Aberdeen recommended that I use acupuncture for my condition. And she is not alone. Acupuncture has made major inroads into the bastions of medicine. A recent article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine, authored by 16 doctors including many anaesthetists, summarizes areas where acupuncture has given new medical insights. Major contributions are in the treatment of chronic pain, greater understanding of biomedical knowledge of connective tissue, understanding the placebo effect, and in developing therapeutic devices for nerve stimulation. The article concludes, …these exemplars of unanticipated outcomes of acupuncture research comprise an additional rationale for continued support of basic and clinical research evaluating acupuncture and other under-researched therapies.