Category: Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine Hodgepodge

As I have noted before, more is published on acupuncture and traditional Chinese pseudo-medicine than the other SCAM. Here are some of the articles that drew my attention. Captain Hook and acupuncture Here is one of the more curious articles on acupuncture I have yet to find, “Psychophysical and neurophysiological responses to acupuncture stimulation to incorporated rubber hand.” I did not know...

/ February 20, 2015

2015 NHIS Report on Complementary Health Approaches (whatever that means)

Back in 2004, data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) appeared in a report titled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002.” It showed a whopping 62% of adults had used CAM in the past 12 months, but only if prayer for health reasons was included. With prayer excluded, the percentage was substantially lower, at 35%. “CAM”...

/ February 19, 2015

Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Claims about Telomeres in the Scientific and Pseudoscientific Literature

The New Year starts with telomeres as the trendiest of trendy biomarkers. As seen in Time, telomeres are the means to monitor our well-being so we can protect ourselves from all sorts from threats, including early death. A skeptic needs to do considerable homework in order to muster the evidence needed to counter the latest exaggerated, premature, and outright pseudoscientific claims about...

/ January 11, 2015
Several snarks were painfully maimed in the writing of this blog post

Mel asks and I do my best to answer. On acupuncture.

I read a lot of the pseudo-medical websites. The writing is at best pedestrian, often turgid, and, at its worst, incoherent. It is rarely either engaging or clever. Wit, the clever bon mot, the amusing turn of phrase or retort, is rare at best. So rare I cannot think of an example. It is ironic that those who engage in fantastical treatments...

/ January 9, 2015

2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures

I am happy to report some good news: chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and assorted other practitioners of pseudo-medicine didn’t fare too well in the 2013-2014 state legislative sessions. We’ve been following their legislative efforts all year over at the Society for Science-Based Medicine. Some state legislatures meet in yearly sessions. At the end of the year, pending bills die with the session. Some...

/ January 8, 2015
The aptly-named "Not Appearing In This Post" turtle of South America.

Acupuncture Odds and Ends

I’m cheating. No, I’m recycling. ‘Tis the season to have to no time to get anything done. Since I know none of you pay attention to the blog of at the Society for Science-Based Medicine and I have no time with work and the holidays to come up with new material, I am going to collect and expand on the entries on...

/ December 26, 2014

Study of “Acupressure” for Constipation

A recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine evaluated a treatment for constipation. It tested whether training patients to massage the perineum (the area between the vagina or scrotum and the anus) would improve their reported bowel function and quality of life at 4 weeks after training. They found that it did. It’s a simple, innocuous treatment that may be...

/ December 16, 2014
Chairman Mao propaganda poster

Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine

Proponents of "integrating" traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into medicine paint a tale of an ancient, unified system of medicine that's been tested over at least two millennia and found to be effective. The real story is very different and is best explained with a term more commonly used to discuss comic books. Basically, the "integration" of TCM into "Western medicine" is nothing...

/ November 10, 2014

A TCM Challenge

In the tradition of James Randi, a Chinese doctor who is an outspoken critic of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has issued a challenge to its proponents. He has put up 50,000 yuan (about $8,000), which has been matched by donors for a total of over 100,000 yuan, to any TCM practitioner who can use pulse diagnosis to determine with accuracy whether females...

/ October 22, 2014

The Reality of Ancient Wisdom: Acupuncture and TCM Weren’t So Great

A mythology has grown up around traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The ancient wisdom of the inscrutable Orient supposedly helped patients in ways that modern science-based medicine fails to understand or appreciate. A typical claim found on the Internet: “The ancient beliefs and practice of traditional Chinese medicine have been healing people for thousands of years.” As Steven Novella has said, “TCM is...

/ September 9, 2014