Acupuncture has no side effects
... and the pain relief it provides can be permanent
Acupuncture does have real health benefits, two separate studies have found. German scientists tested the therapy by treating one group of patients with acupuncture and another with a fake procedure designed to simulate it's feel. Those patients who received the real therapy showed much bigger improvements in their health.

The fake therapy was administered using a "placebo" needle which, like a theatrical dagger, retracts into the handle when pressed on to the skin. The patient feels a pinprick and "sees" the needle being inserted, but there is no real acupuncture taking place.

Konrad Streitberger, an anesthetist at the University of Heidelburg who invented the placebo needle, said: " it helps differentiate the physiological effects of the needle from psychological effects," he says.

Dr. Streitberger's team, whose research is reported in New Scientist Magazine, used the needle on patients with rotator cuff tendinitis, a painful shoulder problem. Of 52 patients, 25 were given acupuncture and the rest received the placebo. After eight sessions, the first group showed much bigger improvements. Dr. Streitberger hopes to confirm the effects in trials with patients suffering from other diseases.

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