From the Editors; January 1998; Scientific American Magazine; by Rennie; 1 Page(s)
A recent stamp of acceptance given to acupuncture by the National Institutes of Health lends extra currency to this month's article "The Placebo Effect," by Walter A. Brown (page 90). A review panel organized by the NIH has endorsed the use of acupuncture as an alternative or complementary treatment for a miscellaneous host of ailments, including nausea from chemotherapy, lower back pain, dental pain, asthma, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome.
This development will not end the controversy over acupuncture's purported benefits, nor should it. Critics have argued that the review panel, while independent, lacked any voices sufficiently skeptical of the claims for acupuncture. And the panel itself recognized that better, more thorough trials are needed to test the technique's real therapeutic benefit. The best that can be said at present is that against some medical conditions, acupuncture seems to do no harm and may bring relief, although no one has more than a vague idea of how.