What Is the Point? The Problem with Acupuncture Research That No One Wants to Talk About

Publication Harvard University

Langevin, Helene M. and Wayne, Peter M.

J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Mar 1.


Despite having made substantial progress in academic rigor over the past decades, acupuncture research has been the focus of long-standing and persistent attacks by skeptics. One recurring theme of critics is that the concept of acupuncture points has no scientific validity. Meanwhile, the subject of whether-or-not acupuncture points “exist” has been given too little attention within the acupuncture research community. In this article, we argue that failure to use clear terminology and rigorously investigate the subject of acupuncture points has hindered the growing legitimacy of acupuncture as an evidence-based therapy. We propose that a coordinated effort is needed to improve the use of terminology related to acupuncture points, combined with rigorous investigation of their “specificity” and possible biological basis.