acupuncture proponents have been able to change the rules of clinical research so that essentially negative or worthless studies of acupuncture are presented as positive.
I reviewed the evidence for acupuncture and migraine previously, demonstrating the multiple problems with the acupuncture literature in general, and specifically acupuncture in migraines. Most studies suffer from at least one fatal flaw: they are not properly blinded, they do not include a control, they mix acupuncture with non-acupuncture variables (mostly including electrical stimulation in the treatment group), comparison groups are not adequately treated, they make multiple comparisons to maximize chance outcomes, or they are simply too small making them susceptible to all the usual problems of bias in research.
What we don’t see is a consistent and clinically-relevant effect in properly-controlled double-blind trials where the variables of acupuncture are isolated.
As with the rest of acupuncture research, what the results actually show is that when you do properly isolate the variables, the location or insertion of needles do not seem to matter, consistent with the interpretation that acupuncture is an elaborate placebo.
There is no evidence for an effect of ‘true’ acupuncture over sham interventions, though this is difficult to interpret, as exact point location could be of limited importance.
This is not difficult to interpret at all. The properly-blinded comparisons are negative. Only unblinded results are encouraging. This makes acupuncture the equivalent of N-rays – not a real phenomenon.