The Science of Acupuncture

Like many other traditional Chinese medicines, acupuncture has for many centuries been viewed suspiciously in the West. It seems to work, but how? Is a scientific answer possible?

Most Chinese doctors and patients have, for example, long regarded acupuncture as an effective treatment for stroke, using it to improve motor, speech, and other functions that have been destroyed. One survey showed that 66% of Chinese doctors use acupuncture routinely to treat the effects of stroke, with 63% of the doctors surveyed believing it to be effective. Some 36% of Chinese doctors think the effectiveness of acupuncture remains uncertain, perhaps because the scientific basis for it remains so new.

Recently, however, systematic scientific studies of acupuncture’s effects in such treatment has begun. Almost all trials on acupuncture as a treatment for stroke conducted within China have been positive. But another recent study done in the UK showed that research conducted in several countries was uniformly favorable to acupuncture as a treatment for the damage caused by stroke. Indeed, all the trials performed before June 1995 in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were deemed positive by the British researchers.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/LgoVKv8;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.