Another Style of Acupunctures

Another Style of Acupunctures

When I was in high school my friends and I would take the bus to NW Portland to see double feature Kung Fu or samurai movies.

The kung fu movies often concerned the battle between schools of various styles of martial arts. I could see little differences in the so called styles during the battles, except at the end where, like professional wrestlers, one combatant used the signature move of their school to subdue their opponent.

As I have mentioned before, there appear to be as many styles of acupuncture coming out of China as there are practitioners. Each has a signature move. For example, there is Wrist-Ankle Acupuncture (WAA). Does this style reign supreme?

One such innovation was WAA, a new subcutaneous acupuncture developed by Professor Zhang Xinshu in the 1970s. Although the needle positions are only located in the wrist and ankle, WAA treats a range of problems throughout the body, especially pain symptoms. Compared with Routine Acupuncture, WAA does not need to appear “Deqi” and its needle positions are located only in the wrists and ankles where no important organs and vessels are located. Moreover, WAA does not need to follow the traditional Chinese theory “therapy with syndrome differentiation” and only requires precise needle locations appropriate to the patients’ signs and symptoms.

A school of acupuncture that doesn't require the forms of classic acupuncture. Which is good since it is

extremely easy to learn, (with)no need of knowledge in acupuncture or Oriental medicine previously.

One gets the suspicion given all these variations that there is to genuine acupuncture, only variation on a theme of a complex medical theater.

Of course, in the subtle bigotry so often found in the acupuncture literature,

Much of the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is abstract just like arts and it seems to be difficult to understand if you do not have an educational background of traditional Chinese medicine. Just as Liu Liang said, western medicine depends on science to create and assess drugs at the molecular level.

Or perhaps it is difficult to understand as TCM theory is divorced from reality and does nothing beyond placebo.

It is known that outcomes of meta-analyses can depend upon who is doing the meta-analysis. Preconceptions of the authors may color the results. So when the authors end their introduction with

It seems that WAA is the first and perfect choice for the treatment of pain.

I am a wee bit suspicious of the intent of the authors. It would appear that they have the goal of demonstrating that WAA effective for pain. And they do. Go figure.

A search by the authors found

7 articles, 6 studies were published in Chinese and were conducted in Mainland China. The remaining 1 study was published in English and was conducted in Hong Kong.

Again suspect, since

In the study of acupuncture trials, 252 of 1085 abstracts met the inclusion criteria. Research conducted in certain countries was uniformly favorable to acupuncture; all trials originating in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were positive.

What was surprising to me is there were 33 other WAA trials excluded due to insufficient quality. That is a lot of bad clinical trials being published about WAA.

Biased authors with potentially biased studies and they found

that WAA or WAA adjuvant was much more effective than sham acupuncture, body acupuncture, and western medicine. Meanwhile WAA was associated with fewer side effects as compared with western medicine and equal safety to sham acupuncture. There is no doubt that it will be good news for patients suffering from pain symptoms and health care providers.

What a surprise.

The results are almost certainly meaningless and patients need not celebrate these findings when you consider

Only studies 2 and 3 described the methods of blinding: both used single blinding. However, it is impossible that WAA practitioners be blinded to the treatments they provide in the clinical trials because the practitioners can distinguish nonacupoints and sham needles. Although studies 2 and 3 both used sham acupuncture for comparison, concerns still exist about whether sham needles can serve in randomized control trials and whether patients are really not aware of whether or not they underwent active acupuncture.

I was amazed that they can conclude with an assurance unwarranted by the data:

Doubtless, it is good for the substantial number of people suffering from pain. Also, WAA deserves from health policy makers to pay more attention and it is worthy of clinical promotion

So often it appears those who do pseudo-medical research do not let flawed data of their study inform their conclusions.

More GIGO from the world of what should be called TCPM: Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine.

Points of Interest 8/20/2014
Points of Interest 08/19/2014