Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, July 8, 1998 Published at 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK


Health

Have we been hoodwinked by acupuncture?

Acupuncture could be just a massive placebo, says Dr Webb

The British Medical Association is to carry out research to establish whether acupuncture has any scientific benefit.

Proposing the study at the BMA's annual conference in Cardiff, Dr Tim Webb, a consultant anaesthetist from Denbigh, said there was no doubt that acupuncture had been used successfully for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions.

But he said there was no proof that the acupuncture itself was responsible for an improvement in health. It might be that any effect produced was due to patients believing that the technique would cure them.

Massive placebo

Dr Webb said the technique was now being used more regularly in the NHS, but it was costly and its true benefits needed to be established.

"Is acupuncture really just a massive placebo? A placebo that is costing us a lot of time and money," Dr Webb asked.

"If acupuncture does half what is claimed for it then it is a valuable non toxic treatment, but if not we should not be wasting scarce NHS resources on it."



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Health Contents

Background Briefings
Medical notes
Relevant Stories

10 Jun 98 | Health
Private clinic in hepatitis scare





Internet Links

British Medical Association

Acupuncture


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Disability in depth

Spotlight: Bristol inquiry

Antibiotics: A fading wonder

Mental health: An overview

Alternative medicine: A growth industry

The meningitis files

Long-term care: A special report

Aids up close

From cradle to grave

NHS reforms: A guide

NHS Performance 1999

From Special Report
NHS in crisis: Special report

British Medical Association conference '99

Royal College of Nursing conference '99