15 years ago, most doctors shunned massage as having any medical benefit. Now, there is a ton of scientific research and doctors prescribe massages for all types of conditions and ailments. I believe our Western way of thinking is currently the same towards acupuncture.

Welcome to the SDMB helloimhere. I think you are talking about this column: Do “auto-acupressure” and acupunture work?

I’ve always been uneasy with the idea of an “eastern” and “western” aspect to science. Science is science.

The reason something is ignored at first and then embraced is because the evidence it works has arrived. It isn’t because we’ve “seen the light” or “opened our minds” or any other hogwash. It’s because the proponents have gotten their act together and used reason instead of nonsense and superstition.

A grotesque exaggeration.

“Hands-on” treatments including massage and physical therapy have limited applications (i.e. in some pain settings) but are not cure-all wonders.

I wonder if the people currently embracing “non-Western medicine” are aware that its traditional clientele is increasingly turning away from it (i.e. the decline of traditional Chinese medicine in China, in favor of evidence-based medicine as practiced in much of the rest of the world).

Yes, very true.

Yes, still true.

And it continues to be true.

Perhaps if it gets repeated enough

people will start to hear the message.

Have you got any evidence for this claim?

Have you got any references to the scientific research? Also you state ‘all types’. Does that include cancer / gunshot wounds / internal bleeding?

By ‘Western way if thinking’, do you mean:

  • collect evidence
  • analyse it
  • propose a theory
  • have it tested by others
  • update the theory in light of new evidence

If so, we call that ‘science’. And it works in the East, South and North too.

Presumably you would embrace ‘Eastern thinking’, which I understand means:

  • we’ve always done it that way
  • it ‘undoubtedlly’ cured my friend’s aunt’s cousin
  • uses only ‘natural’ ingredients or processes
  • if only you would cast aside your doubts and just ‘believe’, it will work

Would you like a dowsing course? Success guaranteed!


I’ve always wondered which herbal tea to drink after the arm gets torn off in a freak combine accident.

The only reason you said that is that your chakras are horribly, horribly misaligned.

Actually, yes I do have evidence, and it isn’t from a website with a bunch of google ads:

“Although acupuncture is not a “cure-all” treatment, it is very effective in treating several diseases and conditions. Acupuncture is most effective at treating chronic pain, such as headaches; menstrual cramps; and low back, neck, or muscle pain. It can also be used to treat arthritis, facial pain, pain from shingles, and spastic colon and colitis conditions. Acupuncture has also been successful in treating obesity and addictions such as nicotine or drugs. Acupuncture also can improve the functioning of the immune system (the body’s defense system against diseases).”

They are not cure all treatments, acupuncture or massage, but can be preventive as well as used in combination with what Americans call traditional medicine. I have arthritis is my lower back and right hip and massage is far more effective and safer than taken two advil or aleve every day. Not to mention massage relieves stress and the less stress you have the stronger your immune system will be (and any doctor will tell you that).

Maybe Cecil, or whoever owns the site, is more reputable and reliable than webmd. Especially when you pay them your $6 for info you can find through or google. Thank goodness for sites like This website and their used of google ads and the monthly fee means they are not interested in what is true or false (and what credentials do that have anyway?) but they do want your money. So please don’t click those ads.

Pshaw. Surgery is for barbers. True doctors work to balance an individual’s humors.

What monthly fee? There is a yearly fee for membership on SDMB. Is that what you are referring to? If I recall correctly, for non-charter members it would work out to a little over a buck a month. You haven’t given any cites yet for “Now, there is a ton of scientific research and doctors prescribe massages for all types of conditions and ailments”

Your WebMD link provides no references, lists no author that I could find and makes claims that are, to say the least, controversial (and at worst, bunkum).

There is some evidence that acupuncture may be effective in treating certain types of pain, but as for a number of the other conditions the article touts it for, the evidence is sparse or lacking (for instance, “spastic colon” and obesity).

I refer you to a source of systematic reviews conducted into acupuncture - and its conclusions are considerably less enthusisastic (use the search function to find a host of reviews on various conditions treated with acupuncture).

Quackwatch may be overstating the case some, but its conclusions are much closer to those of physicians in general - a lot of the “evidence” for acupuncture comes from Chinese publications of poor quality and good randomized controlled trials are rare. The WebMD article’s blanket statement that physicians “approve” of acupuncture is farcical exaggeration.

It’s good that you feel massage helps your back pain (and a number of types of physical therapy may do this in a subset of patients), but your testimonial does nothing to show that massage strengthens the immune system.

I knew those would bite us in the ass. Has the money the Reader has received from them balanced the SDMB’s loss of credibility and how that reflects on the Reader’s prize pig, Cecil Adams and The Straight Dope? Do what we do, helloimhere, and ignore them unless their incongruity is ironically funny.

“All types” is an overstatement. Your link merely shows that accupuncture and massage have been sometimes useful in ameliorating pain. I’d say that is a massive “DUH!” with massage and and invitation for someone to study the way acupuncture works, and if it actually works or if something else is doing the heavy lifting.

After my wife saw my car parked at that place out by the interstate I learned there could be a direct correlation between massages and gunshot wounds.

Well, make sure you buy a straightdope shirt. That is just one article from webmd, There are several others and not just on that sight. My own physician has even prescribed massage therapy for me. And there is a ton of proof that it supports the immune system. Again, see google or ask, or just ask a doctor, because I am not going to post all the links. Are there any md’s on this site? Somehow I highly doubt it.

And that info on webmd is from the Cleveland Clinic if you take a second to look:

Yoo-hoo! (waves)

There are about a half-dozen that I know of. I highly doubt any of them would issue the kind of blanket endorsement of acupuncture that the WebMD article suggests, but perhaps one or more of the other docs will weigh in later.

Anyway, you don’t have to be an MD to be able to evaluate research, and acupuncture’s clinical trial backing is not very impressive to date.
I have actually tried acupuncture in the past and did not find it effective, though my negative testimonial is worth no more than someone else’s positive one.

Actually, all the link says is that doctors at the Cleveland Clinic reviewed the article. It doesn’t appear that they were paying much attention. Maybe they were simultaneously writing grant applications or watching All-Star Wrestling. The whole thing comes off as a puff piece written by someone who is an advocate for acupuncture, rather than a balanced view of acupuncture’s place in evidence-based (excuse me, Western) medicine.

Jackmannii, M.D.

At least one (paging QtM! paging QtM!). I’m fairly sure there’s more than one nurse, and quite a few other people in the health professions.

And, yes, you will be asked for cites if you make claims here. So, if you’re not willing to provide them you should probably go play somewhere else.

PS Oops - on checking the response before mine; at least two mds.

Ok, it says it was written “in collaboration with”, not reviwed by. If you are an MD, I assume you know how to read or otherwise you wouldn’t have made it through 7 years of college. And your opinion is more important than 3000 other doctors:

Does the Medical Establishment Approve of Acupuncture?
Yes. There are approximately 6,500 licensed acupuncturists in the U.S. and 3,000 doctors who perform acupuncture as part of their medical practice. In addition, the World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 40 medical problems, ranging from allergies to AIDS, which can be helped by acupuncture treatment. Lastly, the FDA regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices