Heart's Discovery

...Gwen Williams

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Acupuncture and Science

Posted by Gwen Williams on November 23, 2012 at 9:00 PM

“Evidence based” is the new catch phase used in many disciplines like medicine. It refers to the application of the best available evidence gained from the scientific method to clinical decision making. This is a good thing but it can lead to the exclusion of other good practices that may not be easily proven using the scientific method.

The scientific method, even though it is the best tool we have, has limitations. It is relatively easy to apply the scientific method in well controlled environments like the test tube, or with genetically-alike lab rats. When doing field studies or human clinic trials, however, the number of unknown variables increases as does the ability to control the study environment.

Experiments need to be properly designed, based on valid assumptions and even then it is sometimes difficult to interpret the results when things don't go as expected. How you handle missing data is a whole area of its own. The strength of the scientific method and statistical analysis starts to fall apart when looking at complex systems. I have over the past years worked with a number of principle investigators with study design, execution and statistical analysis in a variety of scientific disciplines.

The definition of science in the past was never confined to just data produced by the scientific method. If you look at Wikipedia, the definition of science has changed over the centuries. In the broadest sense it is an large explainable body of knowledge. There are areas of science, like natural sciences or phenomenological science are not derived from experiments but from observations used to develop explanations and form the fundamental theories.

Therefore, in this light, and in my opinion, the data behind the validity of acupuncture, constitutes one of the greatest bodies of scientific knowledge in the world today. Acupuncture, as practised within traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is thousands of years old. Some say 3000-5000 years while a recent discovery in Britain now speculates it may be as old as 9000 years and not necessarily just a product of China. TCM and acupuncture is widely accepted and growing in many parts of the world, including North America. The World Health Organizations quotes 104 aliments that are scientifically proven to be effectively treated with acupuncture.

There are far too many studies on acupuncture to list here. I post scientific reports on a variety of topics on Twitter at GwenWilliams@acupuncturens and I try to keep up with all the emerging scientific information on acupuncture on Facebook at http [:/] /www.facebook.com/EasternShoreHolisticAcupuncture.

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