Monthly Archives: February 2015

Sham Healthcare: The Real History of Acupuncture

Karl Sechrist   February 3, 2015   Comments Off on Sham Healthcare: The Real History of Acupuncture


While acupuncture is widely accepted as a feasible system of health care, the available evidence demonstrates it does not have any effect in the slightest. An academic study was conducted at Technische University in Munich, Germany in the Department of Internal Medicine. Thirty four healthy volunteers got two laser acupuncture treatments at three acupuncture points LI4 (hegu), LU7 (lieque), and LR3 (taichong); once by a practical laser and once using an inactive laser in randomized sequence. The sole method of monitoring client reaction to acupuncture is known as the MGH Acupuncture Sensation Scale (MASS) and this process is just asking the customer how they felt from every acupuncture treatment. In this study, the treatment together with the inactive laser got the same favorable answer from all 34 participants, even individuals which have never had an acupuncture treatment before in their lives. If a laser that is certainly not even turned on generates the same favorable reaction as targeted, laser-precise pressure on the traditionally-used acupuncture sites of the body, this process cannot be considered a scientific method of accruing data that can be used to judge effectiveness. Just telling folks they’re getting acupuncture is sufficient to make them say it’s successful.

Professionals of acupuncture maintain this area of health care works by interrupting the stream of a force called “Qi” using pressure or needles. “Qi” has never been detected or quantified, so, no really scientific approach could ever have been created to demonstrate or even imply it exists. Belief in the existence of “Qi,” an unobservable, non-quantifiable force, is perpetuated by people who maintain it’s the mechanism by which acupuncture works and acupuncture is their main source of income. That interest would skews in favor of effectiveness any data interpreted using MASS by a person with a monetary interest in establishing their area of health care works.

Contrary to the popular idea that acupuncture as we all know it’s existed for “thousands of years,” it really has its origins in 18th century France. The Chinese did practice a variation of acupuncture but it didn’t contain any reference of “Qi” and had nothing in common with the modern practice except its use of a kind of needle. Archaeologists who found these needles in early Chinese sites reported the needles to be rather substantial (up to a foot long) and there were several skulls close to the needles with holes in them, indicating individuals had perished via this process. The modern systems we see now are rather distinct and were devised by French physicians who resurrected a Chinese custom that is obscure using considerably smaller needles that will not kill the patients. In addition they added their particular techniques, including an explanation for acupuncture’s success being a manipulation of “Qi.”