I read a lot of current events-type articles on acupuncture from my Google newsfeed. Invariably, there are always a number of people who insist that acupuncture and other alternative therapies are ineffective because they cannot be tested or proven via the rigors of scientific method. In their eyes, the strong anecdotal evidence - literally thousands of years worth! - that exists supporting acupuncture's efficacy simply does not cut it when it comes to the standard by which we judge whether or not something is a "sham" treatment. I am obviously very opinionated on the subject and often write these people off as closed-minded, short-sighted, or just downright insulting.
Unfortunately, it is currently very difficult to conduct a good controlled scientific experiment to study acupuncture and other alternative modalities and it might always will be. There is simply no good means by which to have a "control" group for an acupuncture treatment. This is frustrating, because the acupuncture naysayers are technically correct in this regard. It drives me crazy. As someone who was trained in Western sciences (I have a BA in biology and have worked in numerous university labs), I understand the dilemma and yet it still drives me crazy.
Despite this "shortcoming", I continue to believe acupuncture to be a valid science. There is simply too much empirical evidence that has been compounded over thousands of years and millions (billions?) of patients. It works.
Luckily, I am not alone - here's a really good article that articulates my position better than I can. Give it a read and see what you think.
Michael A. Sassack is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist serving the northwest suburbs of Chicago.