I'm a general surgeon and acupuncturist. I am fascinated with the studies regarding acupuncture. The article "Treatment was fake, relief was real" (Sept. 25, Page B-5), regarding treatments for back pain, contained a reference to fake acupuncture. Fake and "real" acupuncture were both found more effective than usual care.
The "fake" acupuncture used in this study is almost identical to what is called the Baldry technique of surface energetics in which many small acupuncture needles are placed in the afflicted area on a more superficial level than regular acupuncture. The thought is to stimulate movement of energy and release surface restrictions that occur in the underlying muscles. The German study mentioned in the article was comparing the Baldry technique to deeper meridian based acupuncture. There is also the Japanese method of acupuncture, in which the needles are not placed as deeply as the Chinese style. These various styles of acupuncture are provided in many acupuncture clinics in America.
Thank you for printing the article about acupuncture.
CALVIN LEE, M.D.