Evidence for the Effectiveness of Acupuncture – New Paper

Acupuncture hacks into the systems that monitor and adjust the body’s own resources, thus facilitating self-healing and symptom management’. Acupuncture Now Foundation White Paper 2016


Driven by popular demand and a growing body of scientific evidence, acupuncture is beginning to be taken seriously by mainstream conventional medicine, which is incorporating it into holistic health programmes for the good of patients and the future of health care. In order for this transition to take place most effectively, misunderstandings about acupuncture need to be addressed. This ‘White Paper‘ – published by the Acupuncture Now Foundation has helped to clarify some of those misunderstandings. It helps that it is co-written by my York colleague Mel Kopperman – who is a wonderful practitioner and exponent of acupuncture research.


Over the last several years, a small group of scientists have been researching electric stimulation of nerves to cause the production of the body’s own anti-inflammatory molecules that act in a manner similar to those mimicked by anti-inflammatory drugs. One such scientist is neurosurgeon Kevin Tracey, president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. One of Dr. Tracey’s studies showed that using a tiny implant to stimulate the vagus nerve with electricity could prevent or repair harmful inflammation.


In the world’s first clinical trial to treat rheumatoid arthritis in patients with an implantable nerve stimulator, two- thirds of the 18 patients enrolled in the ongoing trial improved, while some felt little or no pain just weeks after receiving the implant. Currently, researchers are developing implants that can communicate directly with the nervous system in the hopes of treating everything from physical injuries to rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s disease and the common cold.


Pharmaceutical giant GSK has invested more than 50 million dollars in R&D in this eld and put up a one million dollar prize to the rst team to develop a fully functional device. The race is on to build a device to “hack” the nervous system to help the body to heal itself, and there is much excitement about the potential in this approach.


By examining the evidence that has been compiled over decades of research investigating acupuncture’s mechanisms in a wide range of conditions, a theme emerges that helps to explain acupuncture’s potential: Like the hoped for promise of the “new” science of bioelectronic medicine, acupuncture hacks into the systems that monitor and adjust the body’s own resources, thus facilitating self-healing and symptom management.


Read the paper in full for some of the evidence supporting acupuncture’s effectiveness and how it facilitates self-healing.