Challenges with Acupuncture Research - When a sham is not a sham and real isn't real
While thousands of research studies have been done on acupuncture, the research methodology quality and clinical quality of those studies vary greatly. The Acupuncture Now Foundation (ANF) is trying to raise awareness of some of these problems especially in the so-called "sham acupuncture" controlled trials. These trials attempt to compare "real" acupuncture against a "sham" acupuncture control intending to be similar to studying a real drug against a placebo. Unfortunately, often times these studies have both flawed sham controls AND flawed clinical applications of "real" acupuncture. This causes "false negatives" and leads to an underestimation of real acupuncture's clinical effectiveness.
ANF President, Matthew Bauer, will be speaking at the 2nd International Symposium on Acupuncture Research in Bologna, Italy October 20-21 to raise awareness of this issue. We will be adding more to this website page in the next few weeks about these challenges so check back or sign up for our email list (see the bottom of this page) for more information and updates. Please see our two blog posts linked below regarding flaws in a study on acupuncture to support IVF published in the May 2018 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association as well as these two additional papers to better understand why the main problem with acupuncture research has so much to do with the "real acupuncture" in addition to the problems with the "sham".
What is the Scientific Contribution when the Study Methodology has so Many Limitations?
The Lack of Clinical Quality Guidelines Causes Underestimation of Efficacy in Sham Controlled Acupuncture Trials
Putting Acupuncture Research into Perspective