Research

In this section I offer some links to research studies on traditional East Asian Medicine that I found interesting. Medical Research is a continually evolving field of information. The vast majority of medical studies require further research and many conflict each other or offer conclusions not supported by the data.

Acupuncture is the oldest continually practiced literate medicine used world wide. With the foundation of thousands of years of recorded biological observation, traditional East Asian medicine has survived and thrived due to the effectiveness of its thorough methods (World Health Organization, 2003). There are controlled studies showing measurable changes in fMRI, as well as chemical changes such as; local release of adenosin, release of beta-endorphins and other opioid peptides, with acupuncture point stimulation compared to placebo, so it is no surprise that controlled clinical trials show statistically significant changes above placebo in spite of the methodological difficulty of studying a skin-penetrating therapy based on an non-equatable language (Fang, et al., 2004; Goldman, et al., 2010; Hui, 2005; Han, 2004; Zhang, et al., 2003).

Most studies compare “acupuncture” to an allopathic diagnosis. Initially, the term “acupuncture” is a misnomer because what is really being studied is a specific set of points rather than an entire system of medicine. You wouldn’t run a trial on statins and call it “pharmaceuticals for heart fire” because you would be comparing two entirely different systems of medicine that do not equate because not only is the language different but also the entire context and framework. The issue of placebo control in acupuncture is almost as impractical as a placebo massage. The fascial network of nerves is easily stimulated anywhere on the body so no blinded placebo needling will go without effect, which shows in the unusually high placebo effect in these studies. Yet there are studies showing statistically significant benefit as well as physiological changes when true acupuncture points are used compared to placebo or sham needling. Just think what we might find in well designed trials that attempt to truly harness the diagnostic power of traditional East Asian medicine.

That being said I have found many good studies and some smaller but hopeful studies that I have listed under the topics to the right. I try to keep up to date but if you know of any more research please send me an email !

Where to find research

National Library of Medicine

National Institute of Health – Complementary & Alternative Therapies

Public Library & Digital Archive

World Health Organization on Acupuncture

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine – Acupuncture for pain