How to proof acupuncture effects – double masked study and acupuncture therapy

Johannes Nepp, MD., A.Wedrich Doz, MD.
Eye Clinic of the University of Vienna (Prof. Freyler) A 1090 Vienna, Wahringer G. I8-20 / AUSTRIA and L.Boltzmann Institut (J.,Bischko, H. Nissel)

Critical publications tell about reports of studies with acupuncture without use of control-groups. Therefore they suggest a placebo effect of acupuncture only. Many authors use needles in skin points, which are not acupuncture points, to compare with acupuncture effect.

Often patients tell about a DeQi-effect after treatment on points which are not acupuncture points and always we have to look for points with high sensivity, elsewhere than acupuncture points.

The definition of acupuncture points is ” high sensitivity, spontaneously and after light touch” and a vessel and a small nerve througbreaking the superficial skin – tissue. Therefore – theoretically -at every skin points we could find effects of acupuncture. Masked and double masked studies have to be performed in other manners. For to proof the acupuncture’s effect on conjunctivitis sicca, we used 4 groups:

1) Patients, treated by needle acupuncture
2) Patients , without any treatment
3) Patients, treated by infrared laser (Laser A or Verum-laser group)
4) patients treated by a device, which looks like the laser tool (B, or Falsum-laser- group) .
As there was a statistical significant difference between needle- acupuncture and the control-group, as well as between both laser groups , and there was no statistical significant difference between the Verum Laser and needle – acupuncture, we suppose, that needles effect and laser effect is equal.

The difference between laser B (Falsum) and the control-group shows the placebo- effect, we had because of the intensity of care.

If the effect of laser-therapy is the same as needle-acupuncture it seems to be the best way to perform a double masked study or acupuncture.

The double masked studies of acupuncture treatment in conjunctivitis sicca was presented at the international conference of dacryology, Stokholm 1996 and at the meeting of dry-eye syndromes in Bermuda 1996, the excerpt will be presented in Zypern, too.