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Does acupuncture work?

In 1996, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved the acupuncture needle as a medical device. Empirical studies have had mixed results as to its efficacy. The mechanism by which acupuncture works remains elusive, fueling skepticism in the scientific community.

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Experts and Influencers

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Agree

Barrie Cassileth    Founder of Integrative Medicine Service
Agree
Like any other treatment, acupuncture does not work for everyone, but it can be extraordinarily helpful for many ... It does not treat illness, but acupuncture can control a number of distressing symptoms, such as shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, pain, neuropathy, and osteoarthritis.
03 Jun 2008    Source


Neutral
Experts In Health


Eric Manheimer    Medical Researcher
Neutral
Current preliminary evidence suggests that acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization.
07 Feb 2008    Source


Disagree
Experts In Health


David Gorski    Surgical Oncologist
Mostly Disagree
It is possible that acupuncture might increase IVF success rates, although there is no physiologically plausible reason for it to do so other than possibly the ability of acupuncturists to soothe and relax their patients.
11 Feb 2008    Source


Experts In Philosophy


Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
Mostly Disagree
Most of the perceived beneficial effects of acupuncture are probably due to the power of suggestion and the placebo effect.
05 Mar 2001    Source



Comments

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0 Points      Christopher Maloney      02 Jul 2011      Stance on Question: Mostly Agree
As with any therapy, acupuncture has areas where it is more or less effective. It becomes tiresome to constantly engage in an all or nothing discussion when clearly the evidence does not support either polarity. For those in need of the most recent evidence, I quote the most recent review of acupuncture for head aches: "the recent Cochrane systematic reviews on acupuncture in migraine and in TTH suggest that acupuncture is an effective and valuable option for patients suffering from migraine or frequent TTH. Moreover, acupuncture seems to be a cost-effective treatment." (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21533705)


1 Point      Benja      02 Jul 2011      General Comment
"As with any therapy, acupuncture has areas where it is more or less effective."
No, some therapies are ineffective in all areas. Your persuasion tactic here is The Middle Ground Pitch.

"clearly the evidence does not support either polarity."
The evidence that it works at all is not clear. The existence of some empirical studies showing marginally positive results for a particular therapy is not a high enough bar to conclude the therapy works. In the case of acupuncture, the absence of a scientific theory - a mechanism explaining its efficacy - is also very suspicious.

"It becomes tiresome to constantly engage..."
LOL. The person who is most tired of arguing is right. You know what helps with fatigue? Acupuncture, apparently.