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Does Acupuncture Really Work?

Although the Chinese have been using acupuncture for over 3,000 years, there are still some who believe that its only benefit is the "placebo effect." A placebo effect occurs when a patient takes a sugar pill after being told it is a powerful pain killer, and then experiences less pain. So, is acupuncture simply a placebo treatment? Not according a recent study from the Department of Sport and Performance Medicine at the University of Vienna. Thirty-six young men were assigned to three groups: actual acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, or no stimulation. Each group was tested with a spiro-ergometer at the start of the study, and at the end of 5 weeks.

The group actually receiving acupuncture was able to significantly increase maximum performance capacity and anaerobic threshold. There was no improvement in the group receiving placebo acupuncture or no treatment. In Japan, Kurume University studied the effect of acupuncture on the cardiovascular system of 23 healthy males. One group received acupuncture; the other received a placebo pill. Skin blood flow and heart function measurements showed that the men receiving acupuncture had a better functioning cardiovascular system. Modern studies are confirming what the Chinese have known for a long time.