Last Sunday, The New York Times published a piece by Gretchen Reynolds entitled, “A Workout for Your Bloodstream: The Molecular Effects of Exercise”. In it she states that scientists recently published findings that only 10 minutes on a treadmill causes dramatic changes in the biochemistry of the blood. Without going into detail, these changes help to lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar regulation. The work is preliminary but nevertheless, it gives us a snapshot of how scientific proof often lags behind the facts. In a similar vein, the Dec. 21, 2004 issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine published a study which concludes that acupuncture provided pain relief and improved function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Before either of these scientific studies, people doing regular exercise and those receiving acupuncture for osteoarthritis were benefiting.
As an acupuncturist who has met many a skeptic, my point is this–Chinese Medicine, upon which much of acupuncture is based, is rooted in theory (Yin-Yang, The Five Elements, and The Meridians) and theories are not scientifically proven. Does that mean it does not work? Ask the man with vertigo who had seen every Western specialist to no avail. Although hesitant, he tried acupuncture with great success. A good many of the people who seek my help are in similar situations– feeling discouraged with being told there was nothing that could help them and then having an experience of relief with acupuncture. It may take awhile for science to catch up with this thousands of years old art, but in the meantime, lets give it the very wise benefit of the doubt.