Although this study was not a gold standard with a control (i.e. ‘placebo’) arm of the study it is still significant in how well acupuncture did over conventional drug therapy. In this study there were 47 women who were receiving the standard anti-cancer therapy tamoxifen or anastrozole were split into two groups to determine how best to deal with side effects such as hot flashes and night sweats. One group received the conventional antidepressent Effexor while the other group received acupuncture one or two times weekly. The study lasted 12 weeks.
The acupuncture worked just as well as Effexor to reduce hot flashes. However, women who received acupuncture also reported fewer side effects and more energy, and some reported an increased sex drive, compared to women who used Effexor, the study showed. Clinically as long as these women are on anti-cancer medication they will probably need acupuncture every couple of weeks to keep up with the results, although some women may be able to go longer stretches. It really depends on a person’s body and how receptive they are to getting subtle medicine that can be so powerful and work on a very deep level. But wouldn’t you’d rather have medicine that has positive side effects rather than a drug that you need to metabolize and has further unknown biochemical interactions?
Now of course this small pilot study has it flaws. For one it is small and secondly there is no control group. However the results should not be ignored. If acupuncture were to be such a large placebo effect how could it have stood the test of time with so many more people using it? It works for a large majority of the population.
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