There’s a whole genre of quack apologia for traditional Chinese medicine that I like to call “traditional Chinese medicine is science, ma-an!” Basically, it tries to convince you that the prescientific, mystical, vitalistic mass of nonsense that is traditional Chinese medicine is “ancient knowledge” that was far ahead of its time and that its wisdom will be rediscovered to become the future of medicine. It’s utter nonsense, of course. Unfortunately, in its January issue, National Geographic fell for this myth—hard.
How would you like a jacket with 7,000 miniature nontoxic plastic spikes lining it to stimulate those acupressure points? Have I got a jacket for you! Introducing…the Yogi Jacket! It’s woo-tactic!
In May JAMA published a negative study of acupucnture and in vitro fertilization. Dr. Carlo Giovanardi, a physician and leader in acupuncture in Italy, was not pleased. As acupuncturists frequently do, he is now making excuses.
Aromatase inhibitors are antiestrogen drugs frequently used to treat breast cancer. Unfortunately, they can cause significant joint pain. A recent study of acupuncture for joint pain caused by these drugs was basically negative, but the authors did their best to spin it as positive. Same as it ever was for acupuncture studies.
The Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan has embraced integrating quackery with medicine in its “integrative medicine” program. But what is it teaching its trainees? Unfortunately, I’ve started to find out.