Category: Acupuncture

Placebonex

Is “harnessing the power of placebo” worthwhile to treat anything?

We frequently write about placebo effects here on Science-Based Medicine. The reason is simple. They are an important topic in medicine and, at least as importantly, understanding placebo effects is critical to understanding the exaggerated claims of advocates of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more frequently called “integrative medicine” (i.e., integrating pseudoscience with science). Over the years, I (and, of course,...

/ January 11, 2016

Legislative Alchemy 2015: Another losing season for CAM practitioners

One of the main, but perhaps underappreciated, reasons quackery thrives in the United States is that the states legalize it by licensing practitioners of pseudoscience as health care providers. These practitioners are placed under the regulatory jurisdiction of, well, themselves. I call the whole deplorable process Legislative Alchemy, and you can see all posts on the topic here. It gives practitioners an...

/ January 7, 2016
Iridology

Australian review finds no benefit to 17 natural therapies

Health care systems around the world are being pressured to “do more and spend less”, to make healthcare more cost effective. Owing to aging populations and the growing cost of providing health services, there’s more scrutiny than ever on the value of different health treatments, with the goal of reducing the use of treatments that don’t help. The Choosing Wisely initiative was...

/ November 19, 2015

Acupuncture/TCPM Crapfest

As I get older I get more grumpy. Issues that at one time I was rather sanguine about, now irritate the hell out of me. It is not like it was when I started practice. Information was hard to come by. Going through the Index Medicus, with the world’s tiniest font, wandering the stacks looking for papers, sending off for reprints, getting...

/ November 13, 2015

NPR and the False Choice of Alternative Medicine

A recent segment on NPR is an excellent representation of some of the mischief that promotion of unscientific medical treatments can create. The title is a good summary of the problem: “To Curb Pain Without Opioids, Oregon Looks To Alternative Treatments.” The entire segment is premised around a false dichotomy, between excess use of opioids and unproven alternative treatments. It is clear...

/ September 23, 2015

Massage Therapy rubs me the wrong way

Back in my days of practicing law, one of my escapes from reality was a good massage. It was a great treat, exchanging the high-octane atmosphere of the law office for the soothing music, subdued voices and pastel tones of the treatment room. I could have stayed on that table for hours. Little did I know just how much an escape from...

/ September 17, 2015

An Industry of Worthless Acupuncture Studies

Even more interesting to me than the question of whether or not acupuncture is effective for any particular symptom is the meta-question of how acupuncture proponents have managed to promote a treatment with systematically terrible scientific data. A new study provides a fresh example of this, which I will discuss below. I think the behavior of acupuncturists reflects the fact that there...

/ August 26, 2015
accme-logo

Learning quackery for Continuing Medical Education credit

The Integrative Addiction Conference 2015 (“A New Era in Natural Treatment”) starts tomorrow in Myrtle Beach, SC. Medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, naturopaths and other health care providers will hear lectures on such subjects as “IV Therapies and Addiction Solutions,” given by Kenneth Proefrock, a naturopath whose Arizona Stem Cell Center specializes in autologous stem cell transplants derived from adipose tissue. Proefrock,...

/ August 20, 2015
Pictured: OHP and HERB picking "evidence-based treatment options"

Do You Believe in Magic? Oregon Does. Chiropractic and Acupuncture for Pain.

Do You Believe in Magic? Do you believe in magic for a back pains fix How the needles can free her, where ever it pricks And it’s magic, if the chi is groovy It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul But it’s like trying to tell a CAM ’bout...

/ August 7, 2015
Georgetown_University

Bastions of quackademic medicine: Georgetown University

We frequently discuss a disturbing phenomenon known as quackademic medicine. Basically, quackademic medicine is a phenomenon that has taken hold over the last two decades in medical academia in which once ostensibly science-based medical schools and academic medical centers embrace quackery. This embrace was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) but among quackademics the preferred term is now “integrative medicine.” Of...

/ July 27, 2015