The executive editor at Harvard Men’s Health Watch has published on the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain. He cited research from the Archives of Internal Medicine and has Dr. Chen of Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard affiliated hospital, on record as supporting the beneficial effects of acupuncture. Dr. Chen, an anesthesiologist, noted that acupuncture is beneficial and has a low incidence of adverse effects. Many doctors have long supported the use of acupuncture as an effective procedure.
One influential and early supporter in the west was Dr. Henry Sigerist, M.D., D.Litt., LL.D. who served as the Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine. He was inspired by Chinese Medicine in part by Mr. J. W. Lindau, an organic chemist who began the translation of the Neijing Su Wen, one of the most important works of Chinese Medicine. Dr. Sigerist then suggested that Dr. Veith take up the task of finishing the project after Mr. Lindau died. Dr. Veith succeeded and published the first English version of the great work. More recently, Maoshing Ni, Ph.D. also released an important and influential translation of the Neijing Su Wen.
Another great supporter of acupuncture techniques in the USA was Dr. Janet Travell, M.D. She was a medical researcher and personal physician to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. JFK is the first known sitting US President to receive acupuncture for the control of pain. Specifically, JFK required treatments for pain related to injuries sustained during World War II. Dr. Travell was an Emeritus Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University and also taught at Cornell University. She published extensively on the use of trigger point therapy, a westernized acupuncture procedure, to control pain.
This latest article written by Daniel Pendick, Executive Editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, underscores the existence of quality research showing that acupuncture is successful in the treatment of pain. The research concluded that, “Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option.” This research reflects a co-emerging trend seen in the expansion of acupuncture health insurance benefits. In 2014, all small group and individual health insurance plans in both California and Maryland will be required to include acupuncture as a covered benefit.
Vickers, Andrew J., et al. "Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis." Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur 55.4 (2012): 24-25.
1 Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
2 Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
3 Complementary and Integrated Medicine Research Unit, Southampton Medical School, Southampton, England
4 Complementary Medicine Research Group, University of York, York, England
5 Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England
6 Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
7 University Medical Center Charité and Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Berlin
8 Institute of General Practice, Technische Universität München