Acupuncture Eases Cancer Suffering and So Do Fake Needles

Acupuncture Eases Cancer Suffering and So Do Fake Needles

Consider this: a new study by Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council, reports that a “simulated” acupuncture treatment, using a telescopic blunt placebo needle that merely touches the skin without penetrating, can be just as effective as traditional acupuncture. The study involved 215 cancer patients who suffered from nausea during radiotherapy. One hundred nine of these patients received traditional acupuncture—needles penetrated the skin at particular points—while the other 106 patients received the simulated acupuncture treatment. Both treatments were performed two or three times a week throughout the five-week radiation period. After this period, fully 95 percent of treated patients from both groups reported that the treatment had helped relieve nausea, improved sleep, brightened their mood, and lessened their pain. The researchers surmise that part of the success of both methods might be attributed not to acupuncture itself but to the fact that the treated patients benefited from the increased care, from being touched, and from being afforded extra time for rest and relaxation. Not all results are in, however, as more studies are currently underway to determine which parts of the acupuncture procedure are responsible for reducing the nausea and vomiting. (Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council, Dec. 2008)

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