Traditional acupuncture’s greatest strength is that it treats each patient individually. It focuses on the factors that contribute to pain and illness, not just the presenting symptoms. As such it treats the whole person. Each patient is unique and so two people with the same Western diagnosis may well receive different acupuncture treatments tailored to address their underlying imbalance. The cause, for example, of a migraine in one patient may be entirely different to the cause of a migraine in another patient and so different treatment will be given.
The ‘gold standard’ of research into the effectiveness of Western medicine is the randomised controlled trial or RCT. In this, a group of patients with identical symptoms are divided into two. One group is given the medication being tested whilst the other group is given no medication or a placebo. Comparing the response of the two groups determines how effective the medication is.
Understandably acupuncture does not fit neatly into this research protocol as it is a system-based treatment, not symptom-based and it would not be permissible in an RCT to give different treatments for seemingly identical symptoms. Trials which do involve acupuncture and sham acupuncture (needling away from the point) in RCTs often do not provide strong enough evidence to form a conclusion, one reason for this is sham acupuncture is an active treatment in itself!
There are other ways to gauge the effectiveness of acupuncture and these invariably produce favourable results.
A wealth of information regarding acupuncture research has been produced by the British Acupuncture Council. Fact sheets on research for a variety of conditions are accessible via a drop-down menu at the bottom of the BAcC Evidence A-Z page. By following these links you can access the broader range of research available and see how acupuncture may be able to help you.
Research is available for conditions such as:
Acne | Allergic rhinitis | Anxiety | Asthma | Back Pain | Bell’s Palsy | Childbirth | Chronic Fatigue | Chronic Pain | Cystitis | Depression | Eczema & Psoriasis | Endometriosis | Fertility & IVF | Fibromyalgia | Frozen Shoulder | Gastrointestinal Tract Disorders | Gout | Headaches | Hypertension | Insomnia | IBS | Menopausal Syndrome | Migraines | Multiple Sclerosis | Nausea | Neuropathic Pain |Osteoarthritis | PCOS | Premenstrual Stress | Raynaud’s | Rheumatoid Arthritis | Sciatica | Sinusitis | Stress | Tennis Elbow |Type II Diabetes | Urinary Disorders | Vertigo
If your condition is not listed on the BAcC Evidence A-Z page then please contact Victoria for advice.