WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Acupuncture may be more beneficial than no needles at all, according to a new study released Monday by the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study team led by Andrew J. Vickers, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center analyzed over two dozen previous trials involving acupuncture. They describe the findings as "the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain."
An ancient healing practice, acupuncture involves the manipulation of needles at certain insertion points of the body to reduce stress or pain. Many patients turn to sham or placebo acupuncture treatments to attain the same results.
But now, with the data of 29 controlled trials, the new finding provides proof that acupuncture may not be purely psychological after all. "Although the data indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo, the differences between true and sham acupuncture are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to therapeutic effects," according to the authors of the study.