Walnut Creek loves acupuncture, herbs and other snake oils

A while ago I pointed out show stupid new age woo stores such as Mystic Dream are. Now I will point out how stupid “alternative medicine” woo places like Lotus Acupuncture are. There’s a bunch of acupuncture, herbalists and chiropractors in the Walnut Creek area, and I’m picking on Lotus Acupuncture because theirs is the first website that came up in my search. I’m sure the rest are just as bad.
their introduction to Traditional Chinese medicine is as follows:
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine that has developed over thousands of years ago and little has changed over the centuries. TCM is largely based on the philosophical concept that the human body is a small universe with a set of interconnected systems, and that those systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy human body. This ancient holistic medical system understands that the body, mind, spirit and emotions must all be interconnected to restore balance in ones life.
TCM is based primarily on a theory of balanced energy in the body. The patterns of energy flow called "Qi" or vital energy through the twenty meridians of the body. Well-being of the body, mind and spirit will occur when energy flow is free and harmonious. When the body is in good health, energy flow is balanced and consistent. However, when energy flow is imbalanced or blocked it will result in pain and disease.

by their own admission, TCM is based on philosophy, not science. There is no proof of Qi vital energy. it is no more measurable than the soul or any other none existent spiritual idea.
medical science has made amazing strides over the centuries to better understand and heal disease, yet the practitioners of TCM love to claim that their practice is thousands of years old. just because something is old, does not make it good or true! Thousands of years ago people had no idea that disease was spread by viruses.
for ages, in europe people thought that the body had four humors and when you got sick, the humors were out of balance and needed to be adjusted. but eventually, medical science collected enough evidence to prove that humorism was not true. bleeding by leeches is not a common practice anymore. why would anyone believe that we get sick because vital energy is unable to flow through our body? ignoring scientific evidence and proven cures for diseases because they contradict your philosophical beliefs is stupid and dangerous.
there is also good reason to believe that acupuncture is not all that old at all
From studying the earliest documents, Chinese scholar Paul Unschuld suspects the idea may have originated with the Greek Hippocrates of Cos and later spread to China. There’s certainly no evidence that it’s 3000 years old. The earliest Chinese medical texts, from the 3rd century BC, don’t mention it. The earliest reference to “needling” is from 90 BC, but it refers to bloodletting and lancing abscesses with large needles or lancets. There is nothing in those documents to suggest anything like today’s acupuncture. We have the archaeological evidence of needles from that era – they are large; the technology for manufacturing thin steel needles appropriate for acupuncture didn’t exist until 400 years ago.

under their herbalism section, Lotuc Acupuncture claims that
Unlike most western medicine, Chinese herbal medicine has a low risk of side effects.

this is a flat out lie. if you go and look on any bottle of any herb sold anywhere in the United States you will see a disclaimer saying the FDA does not support the claims of the herb manufacturer. this is because, under law, herbs are considered dietary supplements, not medicine. this means that there is no need to prove the herbs work, and there is no need to test for side effects. the truth is not that herbs have a low risk of side effects. the truth is that there has not been any testing done to find out what the side effects are. they are there, but unlike pharmaceutical medicine, they are not tested for.
as the American Academy of Family Physicians stated in 1999
the adverse effects and drug interactions associated with herbal remedies are largely unknown. Ginkgo biloba extract, advertised as improving cognitive functioning, has been reported to cause spontaneous bleeding, and it may interact with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. St. John's wort, promoted as a treatment for depression, may have monoamine oxidase­inhibiting effects or may cause increased levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Although St. John's wort probably does not interact with foods that contain tyramine, it should not be used with prescription antidepressants. Ephedrine-containing herbal products have been associated with adverse cardiovascular events, seizures and even death. Ginseng, widely used for its purported physical and mental effects, is generally well tolerated, but it has been implicated as a cause of decreased response to warfarin.

oh, but it gets better, the Lotus Acupuncture website then goes on to make the claim that
According to the World Health Organization and the National Institutes acupuncture is beneficial to treat:

* Chronic and Acute Pain - Injuries, headaches, neck, shoulder, back & knee pain, tendonitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia,
* Digestive Disorders - Irritable bowel, colitis, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, food allergies, ulcers.
* Gynecological-PMS, painful or irregular menses, menopause, infertility.
* Pregnancy -pre and post-partum care, breech, labor and delivery.
* Neurological Disorders - Post-stroke recovery, Bell's Palsy, Parkinsons, Trigeminal Neuralgia, movement disorders, neuropathy,
* Respiratory Disorders - Asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, sore throat, laryngitis, colds and flu,
* Immune Function - Recurrent infections, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, AIDS.
* Addictions - Addictions to nicotine, alcohol and drugs.
* Eye and Ear Disorders - Tinnitus, Meniere's disease, impaired vision.
* Psychological- Depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, insomnia.

i think the best response to this is by actual medical doctors such as Harriet Hall over at science based medicine
There are plenty of studies showing that acupuncture works for subjective symptoms like pain and nausea. But there are several things that throw serious doubt on their findings. The results are inconsistent, with some studies finding an effect and others not. The higher quality studies are less likely to find an effect. Most of the studies are done by believers in acupuncture. Many subjects would not volunteer for an acupuncture trial unless they had a bias towards believing it might work...

The biggest problem with acupuncture studies is finding an adequate placebo control. You’re sticking needles in people. People notice that. Double blinding is impossible: you might be able to fool patients into thinking you’ve used a needle when you haven’t, but there’s no way to blind the person doing the needling. Two kinds of controls have been used: comparing acupuncture points to non-points, and using an ingenious needle in a sheath that appears to have penetrated the skin when it hasn’t...
Guess what? It doesn’t matter where you put the needle. It doesn’t matter whether you use a needle at all. In the best controlled studies, only one thing mattered: whether the patients believed they were getting acupuncture. If they believed they got the real thing, they got better pain relief – whether they actually got acupuncture or not! If they got acupuncture but believed they didn’t, it was less likely to work. If they didn’t get it but believed they did, it was more likely to work...
Considering the inconsistent research results, the implausibility of qi and meridians, and the many questions that remain, all the current evidence is compatible with this hypothesis: acupuncture is nothing more than a recipe for an elaborate placebo

you can also go here and read a section of the book Trick or treatment: the undeniable facts about alternative medicine By Simon Singh, Edzard Ernst as to why the WHO report is highly flawed at best.

acupuncture and other ineffective forms of alternative medicine ("alternative medicine" is just a term for things that have no been proven effective and have not been adopted by the medical community) are not only stupid, they can be dangerous. Lotus Acupuncture claims that
Acupuncture is beneficial to people of all ages from newborns to the elderly in all stages of disease. Acupuncture can improve wellbeing, treat disease and prevent illness at all stages of life.

when people are led to believe that things like acupuncture are effective, they may not seek real effective treatment for their diseases. adjusting the imaginary Qi energy flow of your body will not fight off an infection as effectively as antibiotics. this is really irresponsible at best.

of course the Lotus Acupuncture website also has a testimonial page. folks who are into alternative medicine love anecdotal evidence. anecdotal evidence is NOT real proof of anything! legitimate double blind clinical studies are.

and of course, nothing offered is cheap.
Rates Consultation and Treatment

Acupuncture Treatment


like selling snake oil in days gone by, alternative medicine is a big money maker. seriously, it is a scam.

for other, better websites by those who know a lot more than i do about these things visit http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ and Quakwatch.org.

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