As someone who studied science before I found TCM, I found it hard to explain to people why I decided to make the switch. For many who hadn’t tried acupuncture I was met with “Oh TCM, so you believe in that do you?”. In contrast, there was very little negativity or disbelief shown from anyone who had tried it. I often hear stories of people engaging with TCM as a last resort, and finding they had gained huge benefit from it’s discovery. I always thought, well the proof is in the pudding, but could very much empathise with anyone who didn’t understand how putting needles in someone’s body (and not always at the site of injury) could have such effects.
TCM is a form of holistic medicine that has formed over hundreds, if not thousands, of years by many contributing physicians of the time. How thinking and practices so historic lasts to this day, whilst gaining mainstream acceptance in the Western world, speaks of it’s efficacy and impact.
But is it proven? This is the question not far from most minds when they are considering trying acupuncture or TCM for the first time.
The Acupuncture Evidence Project was commissioned by The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) when they identified the need for an updated review of the evidence for Acupuncture and TCM with greater rigor. Contemporary TCM literature and teaching was analysed using evidence currently available in systematic reviews and meta analyses. The review also looked at the safety of treatments and their cost-effectiveness. The findings concluded that there is now sufficient evidence for the effectiveness of 117 conditions with “stronger evidence of Acupuncture effective for some conditions more than others”. It Is no longer possible to say that the effectiveness of acupuncture is because of the placebo effect, or that it is useful only for musculoskeletal pain.
The Australian medicare system class Acupuncture and TCM as a required treatment and a large proportion of referrals to the clinic come from local Doctors and Nurses.
The World Health Organisation recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions.
I have been fortunate to work alongside practitioners with collectively 100s of years of experience who can anecdotally tell you the impact this mode of treatment can have. The industry has come a very long way from a research perspective over the last 10-20 years. I feel so grateful to the researchers and practitioners dedicated to this field and to making this form of treatment more accepted by mainstream science, and therefore more accessible for people where it may be a life changing discovery to get the relief they need to enjoy the quality of life they deserve.