"Do I have something on my face?"
According to this article in The Scientific American, researchers have found "no meaningful difference between acupuncture and a wide range of sham treatments". In America, the method is used to treat pain in patients and according to Harriet Hall, a retired family physician and U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, "We have no evidence that acupuncture is anything more than theatrical placebo." She's also a long-time critic of alternative medicine.
"But my uncle/aunt/distant-semi-related-otter tried it out and it worked! His/her/their lump/arthritis/greyscale was completely cured after the sensei pricked a few thousand holes in his body," you say. Well, according to the article, "Whether investigators penetrate the skin or not, use needles or toothpicks, target the particular locations on the body cited by acupuncturists or random ones, the same proportion of patients experience more or less the same degree of pain relief" (the most well researched quotient of acupuncture).
The article goes on to describe the area of pain relief as the most – and only – significant contribution of acupuncture to medicine. "Scientists have been studying a roster of potential biological pathways by which needling might relieve pain. The most successful of these efforts has centered on adenosine, a chemical believed to ease pain by reducing inflammation." Out of this study, researchers can potentially eschew from the leading method of pain relief, the opioid system – yes, as in opium – that has led to addiction and overdose deaths.
What do you think? Are you a sensei who practices acupuncture? Or are you a patient getting poked regularly? Let us know if the paper is rubbish, and leave us your testimonies. We'd love to prove them wrong.