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Research puts needle into acupuncture.

THE pain-relieving effects of acupuncture compared with a placebo are so small they may be clinically irrelevant, according to new research.

Researchers analysed evidence from 13 acupuncture pain trials involving over 3,000 patients with a broad range of common conditions such as knee osteoarthritis, migraine, low back pain and post-operative pain.

They found only a small analgesic effect of real acupuncture compared to placebo acupuncture.

This corresponded to a reduction in pain levels of about 4mm on a 100mm pain scoring scale.

A 10mm reduction on this scale is classed as 'minimal' or 'little change' so the apparent analgesic effect of acupuncture seemed to be below a clinically relevant pain improvement, the researchers said.

They found a moderate difference between placebo acupuncture and no acupuncture (10mm on a 100mm pain scoring scale), but the effect of placebo acupuncture varied considerably.

The researchers, who are based at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, said their findings corresponded with several Cochrane reviews on acupuncture for various types of pain, which all found there was no clear evidence that acupuncture relieved pain.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 29, 2009
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