Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years. Within the last few decades, Western health practitioners have begun to study it seriously. Even with dozens of controlled trials, however, most physicians remain skeptical about its benefits. That may be partly because the traditional Chinese medical system behind it is incomprehensible in modern scientific terms.
A new meta-analysis of 29 randomized, controlled trials involving nearly 18,000 patients suggests that acupuncture is effective for alleviating chronic shoulder, back or neck pain, osteoarthritis and headache. The investigators concluded that acupuncture is superior to both nonacupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept.10, 2012]