Category Archives: Misleading Reporting

Why Most Acupuncture Research is a Sham

Below is a section of an article from AcupunctureToday.  The full article can be read here:

emphases added -ed



True needling consists of actual penetration of the needle with manual stimulation, whereas sham needling is carried out by a special needle which touches the skin but may only penetrate superficially or touch the skin’s surface. In cases of both true and sham, the de qi phenomena is reported and the subject feels the needle at the point of contact.

Superficial needle stimulation is a known and accepted acupuncture procedure within a variety of European and Asian-American acupuncture techniques. Within acupuncture research, however, it is considered a placebo. Conclusions will be drawn and reported as such to an unsuspecting public. These sham acupuncture needles, which are internationally accepted and referred to as Streitberger or Park needles, are used by virtually every researcher conducting studies within the area of acupuncture. It is the standard for the scientific industry. This fact alone makes any research using this needle procedure a “sham,” as it is ignores that nonpenetrating acupuncture is a valid technique.

Recently, a major research institute attached to a very prominent university received a grant to conduct acupuncture research. They chose as their topic the treatment of colitis and diverticulitis via acupuncture. They sought my input and expertise into the matter. To say I was honored and humbled would be an understatement. When I inquired as to my role, I was shocked to learn they wanted to know “what points do you treat for this condition?”

They did not have a clue what acupuncture was. They only wanted to know what points to use for gastrointestinal distress. I reminded them that was a very general condition with many potential causes. I advised against using federal funds to finance such a study since their final results would be flawed. They were totally unaware of pulse, tongue diagnosis, system review or electromeridian imaging through ryodoraku. When I asked what was their goal for the research, I was told “to determine if acupuncture was effective in gastrointestinal distress.”

It is very apparent that those who are conducting what would otherwise be considered valid and scientific research at extremely impressive and recognized institutes are in fact guilty of the highest malfeasance with the models they have chosen to use regarding the effectiveness of acupuncture. Unfortunately, the general public and the scientific community regard research from these sources as gospel and would never question the validity of these studies.

Acupuncture research conclusions cannot be accepted as long as the research is being conducted as shown in the examples I cited. True blind or double-blind studies may essentially be impossible within acupuncture research due to the fact as long as a patient is able to feel a sensation at the point of needle contact (whether actual or simulated), it cannot be considered a valid blind study. The methods utilized in most acupuncture research are without question, a “sham.”

The full article can be read here:


The reason the author knew that their results would be flawed is that Chinese Medicine does not aim to treat symptoms as its primary goal.

The primary goal is to recognize the root cause of the symptoms and direct treatment to the root, even if the treatment must concurrently address the symptoms directly.

Yet the cause of Diverticulitis is not understood by WM, and Colitis has many different causes.  Different causes require different acupuncture points.  Yet the researchers want simply to use Acumoxa points to treat gastrointestinal distress.  Further, even under the same single cause, different patients may require different point protocols depending on a variety of factors about the individual.

I believe the root problem here is that WM wants to use Acupuncture like a Western drug, instead of use Acupuncture as it has been used for 3,000 years.

Depression, for example, can be addressed in WM by administering Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s).  This allows for the brain’s serotonin levels to remain higher than they normally do.  Yet low serotonin levels are not the cause of the patients depression; they are a symptom, an expression, of a root pathology.  Chinese Medicine looks at “depression” as one symptom of an underlying pathology – not the pathology itself!

Just as WM uses single-action drugs to handle symptoms, so too they would like to use acupuncture as a single-action modality for addressing symptoms.  This is antithetical to the foundations of the CM theories and ethics.  Of course the research will be flawed.

Let’s say you asked a top chef to advice you on cooking a good stew for your family.  You spend millions of dollars setting up the kitchen, buying the best pots and pans and stoves.  Finally you’re ready to prepare and cook the stew, and you’re only question to the chef is,  “Now, where’s your ‘Good Stew Spice’?”

There is no such thing as a Good Stew spice in medicine.  Good stew is the culmination of frying the vegetables, slicing the meat, cooking with the right temperature for the right duration of time, etc.  All of that combined, holistically, creates a good stew.  So too with a patient’s health.

Just as spices alone do not make good stew, treating symptoms alone does not make true treatment.  Yet this is how the top research organizations are approaching acupuncture.  Not only is this a sham, it is a shame of great proportions.


How to detect misleading ads


By Lori Bongiorno

Posted Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:33am PDT

How do you know if an ad is telling the truth? It’s not always easy, but there are certain clues you can look for to determine if the claims an ad is making are legit or if a marketer is purposely trying to mislead you into thinking a product is healthier, safer, or greener than it truly is.

Here are some ways to determine if advertising claims are fact or fiction…

Words matter. Look for specific rather than general claims. The following words are essentially meaningless because they are too vague and/or there aren’t any standard definitions for them:

  • Natural
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Nontoxic
  • Fragrance-free or unscented
  • Free range
  • Hormone-free
  • Antibiotic-free
  • Eco-friendly, environmentally preferable, or eco-safe
  • Green

Meaningless claims are ubiquitous in the marketplace. For instance, about 33 percent of food and beverage products launched last year made some kind of “natural” claim. When shopping, it’s safer to look for specific attributes, but there are no guarantees because in many cases there’s no one verifying the manufacturers claims.

Some examples of specific claims:

  • Made from post-consumer recycled paper
  • Formaldehyde-free
  • No additives
  • No animal byproducts
  • No parabens
  • Phosphate-free

Visit Consumer Reports’ Eco-labels center to find out which labels and terms you can trust.

Look for proof. Choose products with claims that can be verified or that have been certified by a third party. These products have been vetted by an independent agency to ensure that they meet certain standards. Some credible logos to look for include USDA Organic, Energy Star, Forest Stewardship Council certified, Rainforest Alliance certified, and Green Seal.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently charged K-Mart and other companies with making deceptive and unsubstantiated biodegradable claims on some paper products. The FTC is expected to update its outdated regulations for green advertising claims sometime this year. Hopefully consumers won’t have to read between the lines quite as much if the government cracks down on misleading claims.

Rely on experts. These websites do the homework for you…[see original article for list of websites]:

Acupuncture beats drug to treat hot flashes: study

Acupuncture beats drug to treat hot flashes: study

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acupuncture works as well as a drug commonly used to combat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms that can accompany breast cancer treatment, and its benefits last longer, without bad side effects, researchers said on Monday.

They tested acupuncture, which began in China more than 2,000 years ago and involves inserting needles into the body, against the Wyeth antidepressant Effexor, for hot flashes in breast cancer patients.

Acupuncture was just as effective as Effexor, also called venlafaxine, in managing symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats, according to researchers led by Dr. Eleanor Walker of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

After 12 weeks of treatment, symptoms were reduced for 15 additional weeks for women who had undergone acupuncture, compared with two weeks for those who had taken Effexor, Walker said.

“It was a more durable effect,” Walker, whose findings were presented at an American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Boston, said in a telephone interview.

There were no bad side effects with acupuncture, and women reported increased energy, overall sense of well-being and sexual desire, the researchers said.

Those taking Effexor reported side effects including nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, increased blood pressure, fatigue and anxiety.


The study adds to a growing body of evidence of the value of acupuncture. Earlier research had shown it can reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and post-operative pain.

“It’s been tested directly against a drug that we use regularly. And it’s more effective. It has benefits, as opposed to any side-effects,” Walker said.

“If you only have to give women treatment three to four times a year as opposed to having to take a pill every day, that’s going to be more cost-effective for insurance companies and the patient,” Walker added.

Breast cancer patients can develop menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes after treatment with chemotherapy and anti-estrogen hormones. Hormone replacement therapy is often used to treat such symptoms in women without breast cancer, but breast cancer patients cannot use that therapy because it may raise the risk of the cancer’s return.

Effexor, one of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat hot flashes in these women.

But the researchers said some women opt not to take such drugs out of concern over side effects.

Forty-seven breast cancer patients took part in the study, about half getting acupuncture and half getting Effexor. The women kept track of the number and severity of hot flashes before, during and after the 12 weeks of treatment.

Walker said it is unclear exactly how acupuncture is working. Experts say it may help the activity of the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals among other things.

(Editing by Patricia Zengerle)

What I find sad/funny is:

“Walker said it is unclear exactly how acupuncture is working.”

We know how it works.  Read the Nei Jing.  Look, if a cardiologist denied that there was such a thing as a Central Nervous System, he too would think it “unclear” exactly how the heart pumps blood around the body, even though he knows it surely does.

Experts say it may help the activity of the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals among other things.”

The real “experts” are the master Chinese Medicine practitioners.  They know exactly how acupuncture works.  There’s no question.  The only problem is fitting this ancient truth into your terms, Mr. Walker – Western terms.  So here’s some honest reporting – read it like this:

[Struggling to come to terms with a medicine that claims to precede Western medicine, both in chronology and etiology,] Experts [in Western medicine] say [acupuncture] may help the activity of the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals among other things [physiological activities defined only by Western medical perspectives].”


Can’t we find a balance between descent skepticism and cautious open-mindedness?
Or is the earth still flat and time not relative?