I’ve had both, the aura was something , I had paid for a massage to relax after a very trying time, she started waving her hands around about 4 - 5 inches above my body, I asked what in world was going on and she said it was a massage. I got up and left wondering how she kept any clients.
The acupucture was not really painful, the needles are small and they insert them in areas which don’t seem to be very sensitive. At any rate I believed that did some good for my hip pain. Now looking back I very much doubt it.
As you may know there is a lot of controversy about acupuncture. Apparently it may have some placebo-type benefit. It is also very hard to test “double blind”, since the proper placement of the needles depends on the “doctor” knowing what he’s doing.
My own guess (FWIW) is that the small needle pain may work to distract the mind from the other pain that the acupuncture is directed against, sort of like scratching an itch. But this is probably a small effect, akin to placebo.
At any rate it is clearly not the sort of thing that should be covered by standard insurance. At least not without a LOT more testing and some understanding of how it works IF it works.
Dang is that what she was doing - The gate theory? I have to say it worked and I didn’t feel the needle.
I can remember when the dentist was a fellow who gave you an “I can take it club” membership pin if you could sit through the unremediated pain for a full session of drilling for fillings without wincing.
I think there’s sort of a knee-jerk skepticism here about many of the “alternative” or “non-Western” therapies, as well as a tendency to look on those who practice or rely on such practices as kooky. This isn’t always well founded, however.
Many traditional medicines come from compounds found in nature, we know. And many traditional therapies come from historical experience. How do we know that massage (the non-aura kind) relieves pain symptoms? People have done it, and it works, AND it’s backed up by scientific study. How about aspirin? Who figured out that willow bark (which what aspirin is derived from) might relieve pain? Various cultures did many millennia ago, and they did it, and it works, AND its efficacy backed up by scientific study. And acupuncture? Same thing.
Often the mechanism isn’t understood immediately, and sometimes the things that people THINK are beneficial are only used because of tradition and bunk theory. The mechanism behind aspirin wasn’t understood until the 1970s, about the same time that endorphins and things were described for the first time, I think.
The “junk science” part of acupuncture is the 2,000-year-old belief in meridians and release of disease through insertion of needles at certain depths to release blood and qi (life energy or something like it). The fact that needle therapy and other treatments that mirror it (with mild electrical impulses or pressure balls and whatnot) show a demonstrated effect when applied to certain locations should not be ignored, however.
I’m not saying that everyone should go running to his nearest acupuncturist to cure what ails him, but I also think that it is important to not fall into a knee-jerk “yeah, that’s totally gotta be BS” attitude, which I think many here tend to do with anything that doesn’t come out of historical Western medicine. On the other hand, when the majority of acupuncture supporters ARE kooky people who follow the ancient theories"sure, it makes sense to dismiss it. :wink: We have to choose which authorities to rely on wisely and supplement with whatever information we can get, of course.
Hi Debbie, and thanks for posting. It’s good that we get some CFI staffers around here from time to time!
I guess I didn’t see quite the knee-jerk skepticism you were talking about in this thread. That is, except with aligning chakras and massaging auras. I think you can agree that neither of those has the slightest chance of providing any benefit apart from a placebo effect. “Chakras” correspond to no physical part or process of the body. “Auras” are nonexistent.
Acupuncture, as you point out, is in a sort of grey area; I think I was agreeing with you, above. Clearly the mechanism that is purported by its orthodox practitioners, involving life-energy or “qi”, is bunk. It’s just as bad as chakras or auras. OTOH there may be some real benefit in being stuck with needles, involving endorphins, blood flow, or some other physical bodily mechanism. The problem is that there is no obvious mechanism, and testing is difficult and hasn’t shown much effect. (Some, perhaps, but certainly not much). My guess, as I say, is that this may be due to its being difficult to test double-blind. But surely more competent testing is warranted, in a way that it’s not warranted for chakras or auras.
You are certainly right that many powerful medical compounds are found in nature. However, many are not; they are designed in labs. Also, many compounds found in nature turn out to be ineffective or dangerous. I once followed a company that tried to make a business out of finding compounds in the rain forest, used by native peoples, for medicines. Long story made short, they went out of business. Why? Because they weren’t able to find anything really effective. Not that another company couldn’t do better, but as with so many things, “skepticism” is the best approach, until claims are validated in well designed clinical trials.
Studies on acupuncture have shown that it can go beyond the relief of pain and apparently, in certain circumstances, with increasing healing response. As you said, however, it is very hard to do a double-blind clinical trial and eliminate the placebo effect.
I mentioned that “many traditional medicines come from compounds found in nature.” I meant this to suggest that there is often a trial-and-effect process that gets repeated and passed down, and many of these compounds were later synthesized, developed, and improved to form some of the most common medicines we have today. Until a little over 100 years ago, I don’t think compounds, including aspirin, were being designed in labs, as far as I know. So I think that phrase is true.
Anyways, back to the agreement thing. Yeah, there wasn’t knee-jerk skepticism expressed outright (a possible fear of needles perhaps), but it’s something I hear often in freethought circles. Yay for skepticism, even if I’m skeptical of knee-jerk skepticism. :)
in my anthro classes, we talk about shaman medicine. For instance, “zombies” are made with venom from puffer fish.
I agree with DebGod. Give people some credit: after a few dozens of thousands of years of being on this planet, you’d think we would have found some medicine.
I saw something about sex on TV (what did our ancestors know or something) that said the Chinese would boil urine, take the residue, and make pills with it (the first recorded in history) that they used as an aphrodesiac OR birth control. I forget. I think it was Cleopatra that used the contraceptive… crocodile dung?
In Greece, the sweat of gladiators was sold (according to this show) as an aphrodesiac.
I would guess that a vagina stuffed full of crocodile dung would likely be quite an effective contraceptive. But then I’m not Mark Anthony. Can you picture Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton trying for the real thing?
To prove that one can be a very good and very brilliant person in one area while being a total dimwit in another, Gandhi took a glass of his own urine daily as a pick me up.
Urk! Glad I wasn’t eating breakfast while I read that ...
Always good to keep in mind that just because there is a long tradition of using something as a medication doesn’t mean that it works.
There was a long tradition of cupping and bleeding in European medicine. Not only was it totally worthless, it probably hastened the deaths of many. People speculate that George Washington may have been one who died earlier than necessary because of traditional bleedings he was given.