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 Complementary therapies 
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November 5th, 2007, 12:18 am
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Alan H wrote:
See Ben Goldacre's response to the acupuncture tests.

There's loads of videos about acupuncture and other Chinese medicine on you tube.

Here's an example.


November 6th, 2007, 4:48 pm
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http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/83807/detail/

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December 26th, 2007, 2:21 pm
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Don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but some everyday medicines are herbal (aspirin, digoxin, for example). But they are tried and tested. St John's Wort has been the subject of some clinical trials, but I think they may be a bit dodgy, as trials go.

As for acupuncture, the Chinese love it until they are rich enough to pay for Western medicine; then they shun the needles in favour of stuff that really works.

Homeopathy - well, it's a bit sad, really, isn't it?


December 26th, 2007, 5:59 pm
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Thanks, OR! I hadn't seen that one before. With all these, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

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December 26th, 2007, 11:17 pm
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Ninny

Not sure if these have been mentioned here before or in the Other Place. However,
I've seen there held up as shining examples of the efficacy of all herbal remedies!

Can someone remind me about St John's Wort? IIRC, it may help mild depression, but can interact with other medicines?

Ninny wrote:
As for acupuncture, the Chinese love it until they are rich enough to pay for Western medicine; then they shun the needles in favour of stuff that really works.
Interesting! I've not heard this before, but would be interested if you know of any research that shows this.

See the thread on homeopathy for details of my talk to the Perth Group of the HSS - I'll post a link to it in a moment.

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December 26th, 2007, 11:35 pm
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Alan H
Can someone remind me about St John's Wort? IIRC, it may help mild depression, but can interact with other medicines?
It certainly seemed to work for me, but yes it does say on the bottle not to take it alongside prescription drugs without consulting your GP.

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December 27th, 2007, 3:35 pm
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St John's Wort often makes skin photosensitive, so it's not a thing to pack in your beach holiday bag. I also understand it doesn't mix well with warfarin, but am not aware of any other contraindications.


December 27th, 2007, 7:49 pm
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I toddled over to see the physiotherapist at my work occupational health unit today. It was the third session for a sore shoulder I have been suffering with for a long time. After a few minutes he suggested accupuncture. Resisting the temptation to suggest snake oil or applying leeches while sacrificing a small animal as an alternative, I thought "okay, give it a try". I had needles stuck in my neck, shoulder, back and hand. Result? No discernible difference whatsoever. A complete festering waste of time. I think I will print out a copy of the Ben Goldacre article as a gift for the physiotherapist at the next session. :twisted:

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January 3rd, 2008, 10:02 pm
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I believe there are some data that suggests that acupuncture is better than placebo, but only for a very specific upper back or neck pain. Ben Goldacre's blog may give details.

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January 4th, 2008, 12:15 am
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Results of a study on low back pain:
Quote:
********************************************************************************
Confessions of a Quackbuster: Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain (Cochrane Review)
http://quackfiles.blogspot.com/2005/04/ ... r-low.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Main results: Thirty-five RCTs were included; 20 were published in English, seven in Japanese, five in Chinese and one each in Norwegian, Polish and German. There were only three trials of acupuncture for acute low-back pain. They did not justify firm conclusions, because of small sample sizes and low methodological quality of the studies. For chronic low-back pain there is evidence of pain relief and functional improvement for acupuncture, compared to no treatment or sham therapy. These effects were only observed immediately after the end of the sessions and at short-term follow-up. There is evidence that acupuncture, added to other conventional therapies, relieves pain and improves function better than the conventional therapies alone. However, effects are only small. Dry-needling appears to be a useful adjunct to other therapies for chronic low-back pain. No clear recommendations could be made about the most effective acupuncture technique.

Authors' conclusions: The data do not allow firm conclusions about the effectiveness of acupuncture for acute low-back pain. For chronic low-back pain, acupuncture is more effective for pain relief and functional improvement than no treatment or sham treatment immediately after treatment and in the short-term only. Acupuncture is not more effective than other conventional and "alternative" treatments. The data suggest that acupuncture and dry-needling may be useful adjuncts to other therapies for chronic low-back pain. Because most of the studies were of lower methodological quality, there certainly is a further need for higher quality trials in this area.

[Captured: 05 January 2008 23:38:10]

###################

However, one of the problems with acupuncture - and also with many other such things - is that there are many, many studies on acupuncture and it is difficult to know which are the significant ones and which aren't. Unless you are an expert in this field, I think all we can do is rely on someone summarising the current position. The best seem to be Ben Goldacre and Professor Edzard Ernst (Laing Chair in Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth).

There certainly does seem to be significant data that show that, if needles are used, it doesn't actually matter if they are inserted at traditional acupuncture points or just somewhere else! This certainly suggests a placebo effect.

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January 6th, 2008, 12:57 am
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Good post in The Scotsman Alan, the only one so far, which is a bit disappointing. :sad:

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January 12th, 2008, 11:13 pm
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ImageHas anyone tried this?

No Evil Oil

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Folks, since this ministry has been sending this blood red oil out, literally thousands of lives have been touched and hundreds of testimonies have been reported. If you're having trouble with your finances, then use the oil on your bills! Loved ones need to be saved? Are they causing problems or in trouble? Do you need angels surrounding your home when you sleep? Folks, bottom line - when the anointing is present, miracles happen!


And did it work? Image


January 17th, 2008, 6:46 pm
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Maria wrote:
And did it work?
Of course it did!







NOT.

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January 17th, 2008, 11:54 pm
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After listening to the podcast Quackcast my thoughts have been confirmed that you can't trust people reporting on "scientific studies". You really need to examine the study/paper yourself to get close to the truth. There are certain people I trust in the scientific community that if they gave an overview of a paper it would probably carry more weight. Scientific papers aren't however an easy read. Even if you know the lingo.

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January 31st, 2008, 7:20 pm
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It may be a mistake to put acupuncture in with this lot. There is a fair ammount of interest in it in the medical community, some good ideas as to how it works and some decent evidence is emerging as to efficacy for pain control and nausea (e.g. a chochrane review). Personally, as a junior doctor, I've seen it be very effectve in patients with cancer for whom combinations of more conventional remedies did not do the trick in symptom control.


February 29th, 2008, 5:22 pm
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Please tell me you don't take the theory behind it seriously? Meridian lines and all that nonsense. No one is saying it doesn't work for some people, I just think it is a placebo type effect. Also when another human being is touching you, it makes you feel better. If I was so dishonest I bet I could set-up something called Qi-Jong Ki Massage technique. I would make up a mythological type scenario for its foundations and bogus pseudo-science about how it works. If I got one clinic opened I'd be set. People are gullible and lazy.

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February 29th, 2008, 5:41 pm
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Two things
just to clarify the chochrane review point regarding nausea. I agree that most of the reviews of acupunture show no benefit over placebo and that trials are generally of poor quality.

Quote:
Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are two of the most common complications after surgery and anaesthesia. Drug therapy is only partially effective in preventing PONV and may cause adverse effects. Alternative methods, such as stimulating an acupuncture point on the wrist (P6 acupoint stimulation), have been studied in many trials. The use of P6 acupoint stimulation can reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting after surgery, with minimal side effects. Compared with antiemetic prophylaxis, P6 acupoint stimulation seems to reduce the risk of nausea.
.

The theories of mechanism I was referring to were more based on neuro humoral studies (at spinal cord level) and MR/PET evidence of metabolic activation of various higher brain areas on application of acupuncture. They mainly support the so called gate theory of pain - activating and indeed upregulating a number of pain inhibitory CNS pathways.

Oh, and I think someone beat you to the massage.


February 29th, 2008, 11:16 pm
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"Oh, and I think someone beat you to the massage."

A sentence with the words "beat" and "massage" in it.

Must resist immature joke...

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February 29th, 2008, 11:20 pm
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The delightful Professor Kathy Sykes is doing another series on Alternative Therapies beginning tonight on BBC2 at 9 pm. The first one is on hypnotherapy. I saw her interviewed on breakfast TV this morning and it seems she was quite impressed with what she saw and lamented that she didn't have the "gift" of suggestibility that those who've used hypnotherapy to turn their lives around have.


March 17th, 2008, 11:09 am
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