Finding science in acupuncture

(NaturalNews) This article title is taken from a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article by Belinda Beck, WSJ health writer. She turned in a good journalistic effort, undergoing treatments herself for chronic neck and back pain.

After two sessions, she felt better. Beck did her due journalistic diligence by interviewing various western physicians and scientists in the New York area who are familiar with acupuncture, some even practicing it.

But as Mike Adams says in a 2006 Natural News article explaining different medical modalities, the Western version of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which includes herbs as well as acupuncture, is not at the same level as the version practiced throughout Asia.

This has also been explained by more than one acupuncturist here in the United States. The length of time Asians can endure with needles and uncomfortable stimulation is a sensation that most Westerners can’t handle. Nevertheless, results are still achieved with “acupuncture light” in the U.S.

Adams also points out how TCM has been around, more advanced than Western medicine in many aspects, for over 4,000 years. Yet, Western “science-based” medicine tends to discount TCM’s energetic chi (qi) science because they must confirm and measure it with those expensive medical instruments. (

The scientific proof dilemma

After Chicago Bear quarterback Jim McMahon’s back injury, pain was relieved by acupuncture just in time to lead the Bears to a lopsided victory in the 1986 Super Bowl, acupuncture went beyond its current acceptance, it became popular.

When asked about his acupuncture treatments, McMahon pointed out that it worked after nothing else did. That’s the point. It worked. Trying to explain how it works through Western medical science may be interesting academically, but the Western approach toward acupuncture is condescending and inappropriate.

It’s arrogantly condescending because by not understanding and accepting TCM’s 4,000-year-old science. Instead, a typical materialistic approach that has the theme “if we can’t prove it with our analytical tools it’s voodoo.”

This is inappropriate because the basic universal energy model and philosophy for TCM links a subtle energy that permeates all of life to the physical body. Conventional Western medical considers the body a machine containing tissue, blood, and chemicals without being immersed in a matrix of subtle energies.

Learning TCM through the Western medical paradigm is comparable to learning a language only well enough to be mentally interpreting into English constantly rather than fluently speaking and thinking in that other language.

The WSJ article contained graphics of MRI (magnetic resolution imagery) brain imagery showing clear evidence, before and after, of changes from acupuncture. TCM doesn’t require injecting toxic contrast resolution dyes to determine which needle points on what meridians (body chi channels) are to be stimulated to unblock or balance chi energies.

Chinese medicine practitioners diagnose without expensive equipment or invasive procedures. Lower overhead equals lower patient costs.

Beck’s article continues with some excerpts from Western research requiring expensive studies, that show how the needles affect tissue, blood, and nerves. Interesting, but that’s the wrong approach. Especially when the “scientific” conclusions are amended by “further research is necessary.”

One of the scientific “authorities,” Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at England’s Exeter University and co-author of Trick or Treatment asserts, “acupuncture clearly has a very strong placebo effect. Whether it does anything else, the jury is still out.”

Even those MRI images showing clear evidence of relief from pain were attributed to placebo effects. That’s odd. Thought-affecting health is accepted, but there’s no chi energy anywhere.

Beck’s article highlights a reader’s comment that is very appropriate: “My former spouse had shingles. Doctors told her that the terrible pain would probably last two or three years. She got acupuncture treatments, plus some Chinese herbs, and the pain was totally gone with [sic] six weeks.”

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