‘Fake’ acupuncture could be as useful as the real thing
SHAM acupuncture techniques are just as effective as real acupuncture in preventing headaches and migraines, according to two separate Cochrane reviews.
While reviewers concluded that acupuncture was an effective prophylaxis and treatment for both migraines and tension-type headaches, both reviews suggested that faked procedures, where needles are incorrectly inserted, are as effective.
A review of 22 trials found consistent evidence that acupuncture proved beneficial in treating acute migraine. The reviewers said acupuncture should be a treatment option for willing patients as it was as effective as prophylactic drug treatment and had fewer adverse effects.
However, there was no increased effect for true compared to sham acupuncture.
“Correct placement of needles seems to be less relevant than is usually thought by acupuncturists,” the reviewers concluded.
The other review, of 11 trials, found 47% of patients with tension-type headaches receiving acupuncture experienced substantial reductions in the number of days they experienced headaches.
Fifty per cent of patients receiving true acupuncture had substantial improvement, compared to 41% undergoing fake acupuncture.
Other review highlights:
- Medication and psychotherapy may both be beneficial for patients with body dysmorphic disorder. However, reviewers said more research was needed before the most effective treatment could be determined.
- Low glycaemic index diets can significantly improve diabetes control in patients with less than optimal control by lowering glycated haemoglobin levels by 0.5 per cent.
- Oral glucosamine sulphate offers less benefit to patients with osteoarthritis than earlier studies suggested.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 1, 2009