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March 11, 1974

A Mini-Symposium on Acupuncture

Author Affiliations

Cornell Medical College New York

JAMA. 1974;227(10):1122. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230230014005

To the Editor.—  The controversial correspondence about double-blind studies of acupuncture began with Adler (222:833, 1972) who advocated wellcontrolled double-blind studies to determine efficacy of acupuncture. Mark (223:922, 1973) responded by stating that double-blind studies of acupuncture were not feasible because correct placement of acupuncture needles requires cooperation of the patient (subject) in reporting paresthesias, sensation of soreness, or mild discomfort, and hence, renders useless efforts to deceive the patient with placebo needles deliberately inserted elsewhere.Chein and Shapiro (224:1533, 1973) agreed that this may be a problem with manually stimulated needles but not with needles inserted with concomitant electric stimulation. Since signs of correct needle placement could be obtained at correct and various placebo points on the meridian, double-blind studies were feasible.Mark (225:1532, 1973) replied that the two steps in the application of acupuncture included: "first, the needles must be correctly placed [inserted], then they can be stimulated,