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Poll Results for the following Question:

In your opinion, is the randomized, controlled trial an appropriate format for measuring the effectiveness of acupuncture?



Total Respondents: 196


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Yes If you set up a diagnose according to TCM theory with certain diseases or syndroms and set up subgroups(patterns), then give to MD/researchers to randomized select the controls and treatment group, that will be different.
No With 'sham acupuncture' often nearly as effective as 'real
acupuncture', we clearly need to use a method that is larger than
the scientific method of separation of variables. Our medicine is
inclusive, and not separable.

No Presenting symptoms can have different root causes in different patients
Yes While a randomized, controlled trial may not be the only format, it is certainly the gold standard for medical research. If our methods work, then the results will be borne out by the studies. If not, then we have to eliminate ineffective treatment protocols and develop better ones.

Observer bias is the enemy of credibility and Credibility is not an option in healthcare.
No No. This form of study requires a simple, singular object and is not
accurate for multi-variate testing. The real world is full of variables
so conclusions reached would be very limited. Pharmaceuticals do
well in single controlled studies but watch out when they hit the
market and cause a lot of pain, suffering and more grief. There
would be less side-effects if the testing model was more realistic.
No 10 headaches...10 different can you expect optimal results (positive outcomes for the specified complaint) using a "standardized protocol" (if treatments are not individualized). Flies in the face of rational thought.

No Are we not all individuals, one persons neck pain, loose stools, h/a, anger etc. is not the same as another with the same symtoms. Has it not been said that there are no incurable diseases, just incurable people.
 Linear science values only what can be repeated. The art of clinical practice as an acupuncturist, (especially in the United States) is based on a unique and subjective experience of healing.
Let's move on from trying to prove that it works to making it more available.

No "Sham" acupuncture could still have an effect on the body. It's not the same as a placebo.

Yes I think the randomized treatment is important for research acupuncture, it is a basic rule in science research.
Yes Tui Na is one of 3 parts of TCM in China (Acupuncture, Tui Na and herbs). In the natural treatments, non-intrusive one is always considered as the best for more than 3000 years. That herbs somehow contains side-effect is already recognized by acient chinese practitioner but Tui Na, then acupuncture are the forst 2 treatments which only use our own Qi(no other stuff) to treat ourselves. But right now, there r much less TuiNa teachers and practitioners in USA than acupuncturists.
No The concept of sham acupuncture where a needle is used on the body which is not an acupuncture point still has an effect. Ashi points are a similar concept.
No Regarding the value of randomized, controlled trials in measuring the effectiveness of acupuncture, I have the following comments.

One of the strengths of acupuncture, and many other natural or holistic approaches to health and wellness, is in taking the entire patient and his/her environment into account in making a diagnosis and designing a treatment plan. In this model, each patient receives customized care, and therefore would not fit into the rigid & restrictive guidelines of giving each patient or patient category the same treatment. It is amazing that as acupuncture practitioners, we see amazing results for the very conditions that peer-reviewed studies state "There is no evidence of effectiveness". Finally, the issue of the "placebo effect" is laughable, as the objective and unbending scientific community attempts to discount the effectiveness of a therapy because of this subjective effect. We rely on the patient's own belief and commitment to aid in the implementation and success of every intervention, therefore the "placebo effect" is part of the treatment plan, and in some cases the cornerstone of such care.
Robert E. Buring, M.D.
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