In a recent article published this month by the Journal of the American Medical Association researchers declared that acupuncture was proven effective for the treatment of chronic pain for a variety of disorders including osteoarthritis, chronic headache, shoulder pain, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, neck pain and back pain. The researchers did a meta-analysis, which is essentially a summary and comparison of a large number of scientific studies on a subject to look at trends in results, on 29 high quality studies that tested not only acupuncture by itself, but also compared it to placebo controlled acupuncture and sham (essentially fake) acupuncture. The researchers found that acupuncture alone was able to see a significant reduction in pain in 50% of the cases, placebo 42%, and 30% in sham cases. This is a huge thing as these results are often underestimated because of the strict controls necessary to preform clinical studies of acupuncture requires a standardization of the points used, meaning that there is no customization of treatment for the individual patient ( a cornerstone of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine).
The article also goes on to state that only true acupuncture and electro-acupuncture ( acupuncture needles used with a safe low voltage electrical current) had anti inflammatory effects when compared with sham acupuncture and placebo effects.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has the largest circulation of any weekly medical journal in the world.
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Or if you are lucky enough to have a subscription to JAMA, check out the original research article here