Acupuncture is Just as Effective Without Needles

NeedlesAcupuncture works, but it appears to work equally well with or without needle penetration. This conclusion was drawn from a treatment study involving cancer patients suffering from nausea during radiotherapy.

In a series of acupuncture studies that involved more than 200 patients who were undergoing radiation treatment, roughly half received traditional acupuncture with needles penetrating the skin in particular points, while the others received simulated acupuncture instead, with a telescopic, blunt placebo needle that merely touched their skin.

Afterwards, 95 percent of the patients in both groups felt that the treatment had helped relieve nausea, and 67 percent had experienced other positive effects such as improved sleep, brighter mood, and less pain. Both groups felt considerably better than a separate control group that received no acupuncture of any kind.

The acupuncture was performed by physiotherapists two or three times a week during the five week long period of their radiation treatment.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

This study confirms the effectiveness of techniques I’ve been advocating for quite some time. While acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for pain, high blood pressure, nausea, morning sickness, and a variety of other problems, the secret to acupuncture has never been the actual penetration of the needles; rather it is the principle of your body’s meridians.

Jing Luo

The Chinese use the term "jing luo" to refer to this; that term means channels, conduits, or meridians. According to traditional Chinese acupuncture, these are the invisible channels through which qi (energy) circulates throughout your body. Acupuncture is targeted at specific points -- the locations where the channels rise close to the surface. There are 12 main meridians and numerous minor ones, which form a network of energy channels throughout your body.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture states that when energy is flowing freely through these meridians, your body is balanced and healthy, but if the energy becomes blocked, stagnated or weakened, it can result in physical, mental or emotional ill health. Imbalances can result from problems in either your physical state or your emotional state. Acupuncture is intended to stimulate the points that will counteract that imbalance.

Pain Gates

How does that square with modern understanding?

Quite well, actually.

For example, one theory states that pain signals must pass through certain high-traffic "gates" as they move from the area of injury towards your brain. These nerves can handle only a limited number of nerve signals at one time. Acupuncture is thought to generate competing stimulus, blocking the pain signals from reaching your brain.

Doesn’t sound too different from targeting specific points on an energy meridian, does it? And research shows it works -- the use of acupuncture on pain-relief points affects your brain within seconds. Studies have also shown that there is a correlation between the electromagnetic fields in your body and the meridians, which may account for some of the other effects observed.

You Don’t Need Needles!

But while meridian-based energy therapies like acupuncture are quite useful for treating a number of health problems, and are almost always better than drugs or other more invasive treatments, I prefer needle-free acupressure techniques like EFT. The technique uses exactly the same principles, using specific points on your meridians to clear away imbalances, but since it is needle-free and non-invasive, for many purposes you can do it yourself at home.

I have found that using EFT, which involves tapping on the meridians to input kinetic energy to them, is incredibly effective in treating psychological problems and has provided permanent relief to many of my patients. The treatment can also help with physical problems such as fibromyalgia, in addition to psychological problems such as depression and eating addictions.

So I am pleased to see that modern research is finally catching up with the clinical observations I have been making for years. Meridian-based treatment has proven effective in study after study, and not only that, it need not have anything to do with needles. As so often happens, once a traditional cure was put to the test, it was confirmed, better understood, and in fact found to be something that can be easily done by nearly anyone.