What the Science Says About the Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has evolved over thousands of years.
TCM practitioners use various psychological and/or physical
approaches (such as acupuncture and tai chi) as well as herbal products to address health problems.
Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body,
usually by inserting thin needles through the skin.
Studies suggest that acupuncture stimulates
the release of the body’s natural painkillers and affects areas in the brain involved in processing pain;
however, some trials suggest that real acupuncture and sham acupuncture
are equally effective, indicating a placebo effect.
Results from a number of studies,
however, suggest real acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic,
such as low-back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
It also may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches.
Chinese herbal products have been studied for many medical problems, including stroke, heart disease,
mental disorders, and respiratory diseases (such as bronchitis and the common cold),
and a national survey showed that about one in five Americans use them.