A large study conducted by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute in New York City has concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment regimen for chronic pain. Researchers reviewed 29 previous clinical studies involving nearly 18,000 patients to reach that conclusion.
Originating in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the acupuncture treatment protocol involves inserting thin needles into the skin that corrects imbalances in the flow of chi (or qi), the body’s lifeforce energy.
According to the New York Daily News, “the study … found that patients who received acupuncture reported relief more often than those who got none or who got ‘sham’ acupuncture in which the needles were not perfectly placed.”
The findings indicated that patients experienced relief of chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders as well as a lessening of discomfort caused by osteoarthritis and headaches. Sloan-Kettering conducted the study because cancer patients with chronic pain often don’t respond well to traditional drugs.
Dr. Andrew Vickers, one of the authors of the acupuncture study, told the Daily News that “we have found very robust evidence that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for chronic pain.”
The study, published in the September 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, concludes as follows:
“Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.”
Have you ever received an acupuncture treatment for chronic pain or illness?