Otzi the Iceman used Acupuncture. It may not get stupider in 2015.

Otzi the Iceman used Acupuncture.  It may not get stupider in 2015.

I try to be circumspect. I really do. Respectful of the person, if not the idea.  Hate the sin, not the sinner.  But some things are Just. So. Stupid.

Last year the stupidest comment by a reputable source I found was in the Cochrane review of vitamin C for the cold:

it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial for them.

Seriously. As I said at the time

The uselessness of personal experience in determining efficacy of medical interventions is why we do clinical trials. For crying out loud, I though it the raison d’être of the whole Cochrane Collaborative: relying on evidence instead of anecdotes. Wrong.

Here it is, January 26th, 2015, and I doubt you will find a more stupid interpretation of information for the rest of the year than New tattoos found on Otzi the Iceman support prehistoric acupuncture theory.


Otzi, the 5300 year old corpse found in the Italian ice, has 61 tattoos in 19 groups across his body. More were recently found using special photographic techniques

Lars Krutak, an anthropologist who has published a book about the medicinal applications of tattoos, has said they may be on or near other acupuncture points.

Commenting on the findings, Krutak said: “I was intrigued by the possibility that the new set of tattoos were located on or near classical acupuncture points or meridians. If they were, perhaps these could be traced to Otzi’s known pathological conditions, such as gallbladder stones, whipworms in his colon and atherosclerosis.”

He consulted Gillian Powers, an acupuncturist, who said the location of the new tattoos corresponds with treatments associated with whipworms and gallstones.

I wonder if archeologists are ingesting some of the indigenous plants to come up with ideas like that.

It seems that every time someone comes across a tattoo on a mummy, goodness gracious, it is near an acupuncture point. Find tats on the neck of a Peruvian mummy? It’s

A possible therapeutic origin may lie in the fact that the circles on the neck lie close to acupuncture points, having a relaxing and pain-relieving effect in the neck and head region.

There are perhaps 350 common acupoints,  with some estimates putting the number of acupoints at over 2000. The average male is about 2900 square inches, so there is an acupuncture point every .68 square inches. Except, curiously, and understandably, the genitals.

With that many points, it is not hard to find associations because every point on the skin is on or near an acupuncture point. He doesn’t seem to consider the notion that acupoints and meridians are nonsense that have no therapeutic effect for any process. One gets the feeling this is the worst example (or best example?) of confirmation bias ever.

“It cannot be ruled out that the Iceman’s tattoos were indeed applied as a therapeutic treatment. In future studies, the location of the new tattoos and its relation to acupuncture points and/or meridians should be further explored and discussed.”

I think they were put there to ward of Big Foot and Nessie.  Cannot rule that out either and it should be further explored and discussed.

Body art is currently popular. 5000 years from now they will pull the body of an Oregonian out of an ice crevice on Mt. Hood or from a bog along the coast. Looking at the barbed wire on the arm, the Chinese character on the calf or the abstract tramp stamp in the small of the back, they will find the tats near acupoints and conclude they were medical tats.

So stupid. But the year is young. I still am betting the Cochrane will surpass this bit of idiocy. They never fail.

Points of Interest 01/27/2015
Points of Interest 1/26/2015

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