Acupuncture is “pointless,” says Friends of Science in Medicine, which has recently conducted a review of the therapy.
In a review it describes as “comprehensive,” FSM detailed the origins of acupuncture, the “many conflicting and contradictory aspects of its practice,” and its incompatibility with scientific principles.
It says that despite millions of dollars having been spent on research into the effectiveness of acupuncture, this research has only found that there is no consistent evidence that acupuncture provides any lasting benefit beyond a placebo effect.
FSM is now calling on governments and health agencies not to endorse acupuncture or subsidise its applications, particularly at a time when evidence-based medicines and treatments are under threat as part of cost-cutting measures.
“Acupuncture has been studied for decades and the evidence for any clinical benefit continues to be weak and inconsistent,” says neuroscientist and executive member of FSM, Professor Marcello Costa.
“There is no longer any justification for more studies. There is more than enough evidence to confidently conclude that acupuncture doesn’t work.”
Dr Sue Ieraci, emergency medicine specialist and advocate for evidence based medicine, says that “There is no place for acupuncture in evidence-based medicine”.
“All health care providers who accept that they should base their treatments on scientific evidence but still include acupuncture as part of their health interventions, should seriously revise their practice,” she says.
A recent Government-commissioned report from the National Health and Medical Research Council found no credible scientific evidence for any of the 18 most commonly used alternative modalities, including reflexology, homeopathy and iridology.
FSM is now arguing that it is time to add acupuncture to the list of treatments for which there is no evidence of efficacy – a primary requirement for Medicare support.