Does Acupuncture Even Work?

Does Acupuncture Even Work?

Scientifically when it comes to acupuncture,
it’s hard to see the point.
Hello everyone, Julian here for DNews.
Acupuncture is the practice of pricking skin
or tissue with fine needles; it’s usually
used for pain relief although it’s claimed
to have a plethora of other benefits.
The first definitive description of acupuncture
is from China over 2000 years ago. and at
the time it was believed that illness was
caused when life force, known as qi, couldn’t
properly flow through the body.
Or when the two forms of qi, yin and yang,
were out of balance.
Prodding certain points would clear the blockages
and restore the flow of qi, causing the illness
to subside.
If this sounds silly to you, remember that
around the same time in the western world
we had a similar theory about the imbalance
of “humors,” and doctors used to think
people were sick because they had just too
much of this blood stuff and it needed to
come out.
But while bloodletting went out of style around
the same time as child labor, acupuncture
has been making a comeback since the 1950s
as a tool for pain relief.
It’s also used to treat depression, irritable
bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, smoking
addiction, chronic asthma, stroke rehabilitation,
epilepsy, insomnia, morning sickness, and
glaucoma, high blood pressure, low blood pressure,
even colorblindness!
Protip: if something claims to treat all of
these ailments, that might be a red flag.
Whether or not acupuncture works is controversial,
and part of the problem is that it is inherently
difficult to study scientifically.
Some factors like the soothing nature of the
acupuncture room are easy to control for:
just turn up the lights and cut out the Careless
But the act of putting in the needle itself
causes headaches for researchers.
If the researchers know if the treatment is
a placebo, it can affect their results.
So, scientists have developed a sort of stealth
needle to overcome this problem.
It’s concealed in a sheath, and either goes
in all the way or only pokes the surface.
The goal is for the patient to believe the
needle is in, and the researcher won’t know
one way or the other.
But even with these sham needles and with
a plethora of research, there is still considerable
A 2003 World Health Organization review of
multiple acupuncture studies showed oodles
of positive results.
This review, however, omitted trials were
sham acupuncture and the real thing had similar
Plus, a majority of the studies were published
in Asian journals, and as Andrew Vickers of
the Research Council for Complementary Medicine
pointed out in a different review of acupuncture
studies, “all trials originating in China,
Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were positive.”
By comparison 53% of reviewed trials in the
US favored the treatment.
More recent reviews have debunked acupuncture.
A 2006 meta analysis published by the Journal
of Internal Medicine found that the results
of acupuncture treatment couldn’t be differentiated
from the placebo.
A 2010 meta analysis of meta analyses (that’s
so meta) in the Journal of the International
Association for the Study of Pain concluded
there was little evidence supporting acupuncture
as an effective form of pain relief.
But in 2012, a meta analysis out of the Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – authored by
that same Vickers guy from earlier – came
out in favor of acupuncture, finding it had
an effect greater than the placebo, but conceded
it was “relatively modest.”
Now this is the point where I’d normally
conclude more research is needed, but this
time I’m not so sure.
There have been over 3,000 trials on acupuncture
there’s still no conclusive evidence that
being poked with needles alone reduces pain
or other ailments in a significant way.
I’ll… let you draw your own conclusions.
Even if Acupuncture doesn’t have a positive
effect, at worst it’s usually harmless.
The same can’t be said for homeopathy.
To learn more about this alternative “medicine,”
check out Julia’s video here.
Have you ever been acupunctured?
Did it help with anything?
Do you think it was the placebo effect?

100 thoughts on “Does Acupuncture Even Work?

  • At this point even if we know that most of these traditional treatments are mostly just placebo , should we spread the knowledge even though the placebo does good

  • Well, i have a family still depending on a lot of ancient beliefs, and i'm 100% sure that acupuncture hijama or pretty much anything that ancient people thought was good intended but flawed. They don't work. But i don't really care since my family managed to cure their bankrupcy with doing acupuncture therapy and hijama therapy. Patients can't regret because first thing my mom tells them is you have to be mature and experienced for this therapy to work. They simply think they are inexperienced when they realise it doesn't work. İ mean i'm all for science but i like the car my family bought me.

  • believing acupuncture releases extra "qi" is nonsense, using acupuncture to relieve overly excited neurons (in effect grounding them) is science. it's not panacea, but it's not magic crystals either

  • Well… I had it tried to reduce my high blood pressure and although it did not work for me.. I think I was not going enough times for appointments. So, it does in my humble opinion help.

  • The doctor who treated my back pain explained the efficacy of acupuncture without any of the Eastern woo woo. Very basically, the minor and painless damage caused by the needles convinces the body to release painkilling endorphins to the treated area. It provided instant pain relief, but only lasted a day or so. I couldn't afford regular sessions.

  • “Smoking addiction, chronic asthma, smoking rehabilitation” the screen says ‘stroke rehabilitation’ how can you confuse one of the biggest causes for strokes with the actual word haha

  • I’m telling you the truth it work but you have to find the real one who will use herbs for your treatment not those acupuncturist in America

  • There is certainly something to these centuries old techniques. At least much better than injecting yourself with chemicals and drugs which the modern medicine uses.

  • Been getting acupuncture for chronic neck pain and chronic headaches. In my opinion it doesn’t work, in fact sometimes I had a worse headache/neck pain afterwards.

  • My mother was having chronic knee pain more than a decade and consumed hell lot of so called scientifically proved modern medicine but got remarkable relief by acupuncture within a week. What more evidence you want. There are millions of things in the nature that are scientifically not proved but that is our limitation.

  • Scientists overthink things sometimes. Acupuncture introduces a sanitary foreign object into the body…the immune system boosts white blood cells and attacks the needles…endorphins start producing to relieve the pain…dilation of blood vessels also occurs improving blood flow…needles get removed. Now you have extra white blood cells and endorphins which relieves pain and stress, and proliferates white blood cells and possibly even Natural Killer cells with increased blood flow. Not that hard to understand. Those are just basic benefits. Scientists are also quick to forget that needles are only a fraction of acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture clinics maintain large pharmacies of herbal medicine with raw herbs, ground herbs, powdered herbs, and syrups which contain medicinal properties.

  • Hello im a retired soldier as well as i have 16 yrs as a fire fighter. In 2003 i was injured really bad causing bad back spasiums. I went for 1.treatment. but while the needle was in the ballsack guy flicked the needles causing me to be in spasium all weekend. I never went back how ever i dont want to take pills i want to be open minded.
    Remember seat belts save lives only if you wear it. However i still remove dead bodies from smashed up cars. So perception is the factor.

  • I type What is Acupuncture? and this is the first video!!! is there an agenda here? There are literally 3000 years of anecdotal evidences. Evidently the scientific paradigm is obsolete. YOu need to quantum shift my little friend.

  • I did acupuncture for a while. It was very relaxing. Big problem though is that insurance usually doesn't cover it. Paying out of pocket gets expensive.

  • There is no pill that will cure you …..None. Acupressure and acupuncture cures many but not all. I used acupressure for back pain and went off pain meds 5 years now. It works.

  • I had slipped disc, cluster headache and retracting eyelid. Acupuncture helped. I know for a fact it wasnt placebo.

  • You know, I'm not surprised North American search had such low results, no correct that, it's even higher than I thought it would be, considering in the Eurosphere, Acupuncturist can get their 'license' as quick as a couple of months of training. Like WTF, acupuncture is serious business in China, a good doctor could take decades to really perfect their skills. It's akin to the skills of a specialist surgeon, except they need to know more than just that organ they specialize in, because in Chinese medicine philosophy, the body works together in harmony, and not as a combination of separate gears. I'm even surprised that there are not a shit load of cases of people's conditions worsening with 'acupuncture''. They should be damned lucky that there was no change because acupuncture done wrong, could kill.

    My mom went to physio recently for a back injury and the physician suggested acupuncture, she declined immediate cause the chic offering it to her was only in her 20's, and my mom's like unless that chick from a Chinese medicine family background and has practised acupuncture since she was 5, she was no way going to get quick trained 'acupuncturist' to touch her, because it could do more damage than good.

  • German researchers found in 2014 that the fascia of the back muscles has many nerve endings embedded in it, mainly pain receptors. Stretching them proved to reduce pain, and they proposed that as the mechanism for how acupuncture can reduce pain. It's not conclusive, but worth mentioning.

  • I studied western medicine, yet my doctor is a Chinese Medicine Doctor and have healed me from various chronic conditions I suffered from…Initially I was incredulous, so I doubt that my results had anything to do with the placebo effect. I went to my first appointment to satisfied a love one. I was impressed. Slept like a baby that night, and from there a bunch of other symptoms started to subside. I have to say my vision also improved which I never expected could be something acupuncture could help.

  • Most people only try acupuncture after they have exhausted different western specialist. sometimes even chiropractic solutions. On the average 4 to 10 healthcare professionals could not provide satisfactiory results which would include placebo effect for they sought treatment expecting a positive result. On the other hand they seek accupunture as a last resort expecting nothing. Accupunture typically cost about a third of what a typical
    visit to a Physician and there is no commission for drugs. Don't get me wrong western medicine is still sets the par, but its not the answer for everything. I had a neck injury which had me in a brace for 6 weeks which included 3 visits a week to the chiropractor. Pain pills and adjustments for 6 weeks not a bit of progress. Driving homr
    I saw a small sign that read Accupunture pain relief, out of frustration and options i walked in , older gentleman looked at me and said How long you been like this. I replied 6 weeks- he said your blood is dead from the muscles being cramped. I said can you provide me with some relief. As i layed on the patient bed he began. I asked him how much 30 dollars, paid him and left. Arriving home my GF saw my neck and back and started screaming What happened to your neck ? Who did this ? . I said Im going to bed. One I had the best slerp and when I woke up I had 90% movement, and that sharp pain every time my car went over a pot hole or obstacle was gone by night I was 100% ok. No placebo can do that. It's my true story. Also seek a reputable Accupunture professional. There's good and bad in every field.

  • It's all about the money all research centers are highly influenced by the current system. India and China has thousand of years old culture and their healing like Indian yoga,meditation, Ayurveda and Chinese cupping, needling etc have basic thing in common ie. Self healing. Making your body to heal it self which is quite natural behaviour of human body. They fix the core and symptoms will disappear. Where as current medical system is forceful treatment by adding synthesized chemical which makes us dependable on that.

  • Dry needling works ….. Acupuncture… Not really .

    As a Chinese , I tried them all in the last 20 years and give it a general fair comments

  • I recall the same narrow scientific doubts about the efficacy of Yoga and Meditation and Qigong and Tai Qi in terms of wellness until advances in measuring the effects through science caught up and confirmed their benefits. This video just makes you sound ignorant and silly when you base your conclusions on the placebo effect..

  • From the research articles I have had to review in order to set up my scientific review, recently (within the past 10years) they have conducted significant research into the effect of acupuncture, the result is predominantly that it does produce some effect of pain relief when compared to no acupuncture or traditional therapy treatments, but there is no difference between sham acupuncture vs proper acupuncture.

    We’re just unsure of the method of action. whether or not it acts by influencing superficial neurons in the skin in order to produce pain relieving side effects via the gate control theory, and releasing specific opioid like hormones, OR whether it’s the result of a placebo on the body

    Concluding though, there are benefits of acupuncture when paired with other therapy modalities in order to treat injury. Just don’t assume it’ll treat your blindness or addictions or heal your terminal illnesses

    Also this isnt accounting for electro acupuncture, and acupoint treatments, just traditional acupuncture in general.

    Also I’m not a professional in the field, just an undergrad in kinesiology trying to enter the therapies hopefully in the future, so if there’s somthing you’d like to expand on or correct me on please do so.

  • I had a muscle knot in my back caused by damaged nerves after a fall – nothing worked to treat it and I had it for over a year. My GP finally tried acupuncture and within moments the muscles relaxed and and it never came back. It's my only experience of acupuncture so I can't really talk about it's pain relieving effects, but for misfiring nerves it worked 100% for me.

  • Ever thought that maybe the scientists doing the studies in the US don’t know what the hell theyre doing? I would think that the ones in east Asia are experts at it

  • No. Acupuncture does not work one tiny, teeny bit. There's nothing controversial about it, no debate whatsoever. People who say it works are either quacks or dunces. So don't even try.

  • My cat was dx'ed with advanced cancer. Before prescribing homeopathic remedies, the Vet administered a few sessions of acupuncture and laser treatments. This eased her pain and bone deterioration greatly. We were fortunate to have an additional 18 months together before my sweet old girl indicated that she was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge. I'm grateful for natural healing methods.

  • I go to acupuncture because of my allergy. When I was a smaller every doctor said the symptoms would be much worse than what they actually are now, and it might be because of that I go to acupuncture.

  • Science is just a perspective from our mind which is below the fifth dimension but once you expand your mind and grow spiritually you will move into different dimensions and then understand science wont do shit for you to see this stuff

  • Well ofcourse the study will not prove it cause the modern science researcher's can only study physical part of the body . But the accupunter works on the metaphysical aspect of the body soo.

  • I'm a huge science believer but i'm going for my first accupunture session soon, just to see what all the fuss is about!

  • USA tests ruling out acupuncture… who funded them? pharma companies………………………………

  • just had one treatment, after years of pain long times of relief over 24 hours despite copeous epidurals that failed.

  • I worked with an acupuncturist in my clinic. One day I started to get a migraine, which usually entails laying down in a dark room for 4+ hours since my vision starts to get wonky. She stuck 10+ needles in my face and in 10 minutes my migraine was completely gone. I've also been treated with herbs for chronic ovarian cyst that doctors said I'd have to treat with either hormones or surgery. After just 3 months my 6cm cysts were completely gone. There is also trouble with the "sham" needles because you are still piercing the skin, which in turn still counts regardless of how deep you go. Still a lot of work in accurately representing the medicine in research; but for a 3,000 year old medicine there has to be something going on for it to have lasted this long! It is still preferred over in China before "extreme" Western methods.

  • Acupuncture can be very, very effective if used in conjunction with discovering the emotional root cause of the issues.

  • It worked for my mom, her muscles that felt tight or stressed (idk how to describe it) actually became relaxed because of it. It certainly isn't as great as the movies ( I know a couple of Asian shows that make it magical lol) but it does have effects.

  • There was absolutely no reason for you to mention the Western World just because people might find Acupuncture to be silly and complete nonsense. Stop downplaying the West make this seem Normal or good.

  • The person who does the acupuncture matters. I used to do acupuncture for my back pain near my home. It didn't show any result after 6-7 sessions. Later I contacted another doctor who leaves in near by village. My pain started to ease of just after 3 sessions.

  • The combination of Eastern and Western = the best
    Cuz my fd got a serious headache and he went to hospital for several times , it’s no use still awful headache.
    But then he went to Chinese medicine clinic and did some treatments and it works, finally he does not feel any pains and he gets 100% well.👏🏼👍🏼
    OMG that’s so magical😳
    Thank you Chinese medical doctor helps my fd 😭😭👩‍⚕️ I gradually love eastern medicine and I wanna learn the eastern medical treatments and skills
    TCM I love it

  • I think acupuncture helps or was a placebo. Even so, i was actively recovering by drinking water and eating healthy. So even if it does work, this alone wont magically cure you. You have to take care of all aspects of your health. Plus some acupuncturists are better than others.

  • Tried it. Takes the pain away and makes other muscles score in a good way. Felt crazy electric shocks during the sessions. I'm into western medicine and practicing it as well but acupuncture worked for me.

  • Have been twice now for bad back seems to do help but found second time a little painful if I moved to mutch will give it one more try

  • I had acupuncture and I fainted when having it I’m not particularly fond on needles but I also don’t hate them. Is there any reason for why I could have fainted and how I can prevent it happening in the future?

  • Wait why can’t we approach it in a scientific way… wth is the needle doing when penetrating the skin and why or how it would effect the human body.

  • They say it could be a placebo so they don’t even know. But, doctors offer you pills which also have a placebo effect + a crap ton of side effects so there’s that.

  • The problem with acupuncture clinical trials is that the practitioner's knowledge and skill decide the outcome. In a way, it can be similar to doing clinical trials and meta-analysis for major surgery. Not all practioner and not all researchers can reproduce the same results.
    A simpler way of understanding the inconclusive results of the trials is to think of 10 chefs trying to recreate a complex dish based on abstract instructions. The resulting dish will vary among the chef.

  • Spoiler: many of the things it claims to treat are mast cell-based diseases. That's why it works. It can effectively manipulate mast cells, when western medicine still insists THAT MAST CELLS PLAY NO ROLE IN ANY HUMAN PROCESS WHATSOEVER. IBS is mast cell activation syndrome. Fibromyalgia? Mast cell activation syndrome. Randomly getting type I diabetes? It's because of mast cell degranulation. Again, western "medicine" insists mast cells have no role whatsoever in anything. In reality, they ARE your personality. They ARE how your brain interfaces with you body. They CAN be controlled with acupuncture. You CAN save your life without wasting any time seeing an asshole MD.

  • Acupuncture is part of an approach to life, treatment is based on liberation of Qi and blood. Old needles emphasized blood venting. Modern needles function to move qi, but then Qi is what? There is no comparable concept in the west. Humours are a thing, Qi is an effect. So not comparable. The shift of internal pressures of the body through needling can affect posture, joint stability, hormonal response ,adapt body's waterworks etc. As a 30 year practitioner of acupuncture I found that it isn't just the needles that do the job,, like in biomedicine effectiveness of meds also often is in doubt. It is due to the use of western science that understanding becomes impossible. Science can at best only understand its own cultural context. As a strongly culturally bound skillset, it also sees solutions in a completely different framework. Research done should be seen in that context too. By the way, Chinese research has come a long way since the metastudies done on overaged Chinese and Japanese researches. Because of the bad check of the facts for your video I also start doubting your other materials. Review the meta studies and you'll find in most cases irregularities due to mixing of apples and pears.

  • even if it's the placebo effect, it still provides relief for some people without being detrimental, at worst it's just a relaxing session

  • Why do we consider it fake when its a placebo? If it works by triggering your brain to heal the body through whatever placebo is. Perhaps placebo is a mental health thing that needs a trigger to help it heal your body? Who knows. We talk about placebo as if, if we just believe we are better we will be. Well… thats never worked for me. XD

  • my grand Pa suffering from kidney failure does this treatment work for him. bcoz doctor said 1 kidney failure .and other one also getting damage .so pls rply .does this treatment work for him .pls give rply .i want my grand Pa again .pls give immediately rply pls

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