Acupuncture is a very popular traditional medical practice with its routes in China. The practice involves using very thin needles to relieve pain and symptoms. The needles are inserted in specific pressure points where the desired effect can be felt.

Acupuncture is several thousand years old as part of Chinese traditional medical practice. In recent times, modern interventions such as moxibustion (adding burning herbs to the tip of the needles) and seeding (passing small electric current through the needles) are added to the practice.

Due to its long heritage, most people automatically assume acupuncture is a science and works towards relieving pain. The practice has been adopted by various countries including the US where it passes as an alternative or complementary medicine, for example in 43rd Medical, New York City. However, the scientific community is still reluctant to recognize it.

So, is acupuncture actually a science or just a placebo? Its origins suggest otherwise.

Ancient Vice or Virtue

Most people will cite the ancient history and use of acupuncture as a virtue and clear reason to make it a legitimate scientific practice. However, these origins predate science and it is highly unlikely that the cultures understood aspects of biology, human body functioning and response as well as disease pathology.

Acupuncture also lacks a plausible mechanism mainly because it’s a philosophy-based treatment that evolved from human theory. Scientific approaches are characterized by defined plausible mechanisms involving observations from controlled environments and labs. Acupuncture results are only backed by patient testimonials and reviews rather than scientific proof.

Misconception of Scientific Studies

When researchers attempt to determine something, they begin with a null hypothesis meaning they do not prove the intervention to have a zero effect, but rather they assume it doesn’t work at all. When this is the hypothesis governing the study, negative results merely reject the null hypothesis but don’t prove the intervention to produce the purported effects.

Over the past years, most researchers who attempt to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture have failed to reject the null hypothesis which states the practice doesn’t work. However, those who have been relieved of their pain through acupuncture will think otherwise.

Moreover, the practice has been used for thousands of years in the medical sector to relieve various forms of back pain and muscle stress symptoms.

The Verdict

Science is only accepted as such after verifiable observation and repeated consistency in controlled experiments. In the logical sense, acupuncture is not a medical science until researchers prove otherwise.
However, claiming that the practice doesn’t work is a different topic.

Over all the years, acupuncture has helped millions of patients, and it is still very prevalent in China. The simple fact that it is spreading across other countries as complimentary medical practice only affirms its effectiveness. It may not be a science, but it still achieves the intended course.

References:

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reference/acupuncture/
https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/acupuncture-doesnt-work/