The following letter was submitted to the Daily Texan twice via email regarding a written response to Robert Starr's article that appeared on February 27, 2013. Unfortunately, the Daily Texan editorial staff has not acknowledged this written response. We have chosen to publish an open letter with regards to the article.
March 5, 2013
Dear Daily Texan Editor,
I am a licensed acupuncturist and President of the AOMA Alumni Association and wish to prepare comments to be published in the Daily Texan. I want to respond in writing to an article authored by Robert Starr, dated 27 Feb 2013 and titled, "When it comes to effective treatments, acupuncturists miss the point."
This article is misleading and does not reflect the body of evidence that validates acupuncture as an effective and safe medical practice for treatment of a wide variety of disease. Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization (WHO) support ongoing research into the efficacy of acupuncture.
A 2012 NIH funded study titled “Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis” published in Archives of Internal Medicine supports the conclusion that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain. Included in the analysis were 29 randomized controlled acupuncture studies surveying 17,992 individuals. The 2012 study also indicates real acupuncture differs significantly from sham acupuncture in terms of outcome and therapeutic effect.
A document published in 2003 by the WHO titled “Acupuncture: review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials” acknowledges the challenges in designing blinded and placebo controlled acupuncture studies, as Mr. Starr indicates. However, there is a critical detail missing from Mr. Starr’s analysis: acupuncture is not a pill nor is it a pharmaceutical agent. Acupuncture is the surgical insertion of sterile, stainless steel needles at specific points on the body. There are currently doctoral programs that incorporate scientific research and examine the value of acupuncture in contemporary culture.
Acupuncture is a medical intervention and invasive procedure that has real effects on the body. Given such responsibility, acupuncturists receive 4 years of education at the graduate level and are licensed under the Texas Medical Board.
Gregory A. Carey, Licensed Acupuncturist
MAcOM, Dipl. OM. (NCCAOM)
President, AOMA Alumni Association
Here is the link to the original story in the Daily Texan.