How Acupuncture Works

December 30, 2018 by Christie

Imagine you have never been in a modern building and you are in one and now you are trying to figure out how the water is coming out of the faucet or how the lights turn on and off with the switch.

Then you look at the thermostat, observe that there is a click, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. You don’t know that there is a furnace in the background that will eventually come on, that will eventually change the temperature in the room. You might notice at some point of turning on the thermostat that there is a noise in the other side of the room from a vent.

Acupuncture works on 3 levels: 

Placebo, Positive Intentions and Science

Why Placebo matters – 

If it is placebo, it is still working 30% of the time! So why would someone say placebo is a bad thing? 

Why Positive Intention matters-

Positive Intention – believing that “this will help me” is another 30% of improved benefit!

So, let’s do the numbers –

30% placebo + 30% positive intention = 60% effectiveness! 

Why Acupuncture matters- 

Adding acupuncture will provide even more success as Biochemical markers and FMRI changes are shown to confirm the scientific success of the acupuncture intervention. 

But, most are not convinced 

So, one would think that not believing in the efficacy of acupuncture would counteract the treatment. But it does not. Acupuncture is determined to be approximately 60% effective by most studies. Even if we remove the placebo and positive intention, the science bears out and we see >60% effective rate for individuals using acupuncture for the first time. Now, in a single intervention, the effects are somewhat short lived and the need for follow-up treatments are necessary. However, in a pain situation, when combined with activity and dietary interventions, usually four treatments will suffice for even the most skeptical patient!


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