I was really encouraged to read this report today. One of my main complaints about acupuncture research is that, when “sham” or placebo needling is done, too little thought is given to it. There are a large variety of acupuncture techniques, and there are different opinions on when it’s most effective to use any particular one. Given this situation in the field, to simply pick one technique and say “this is a placebo” without any research to confirm that it has no physiological effect is simply unscientific. It seems that now the NIH agrees! From the report: ‘Dr. R. E. Harris, an NIH researcher at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan notes, “It’s hard to design placebo-controlled studies of acupuncture when we don’t understand what the active component of the intervention is.”’ Yes, exactly! And “The researchers recommend acupuncture as a treatment modality but suggest that future research needs to reconsider attempts to use placebo and sham control groups.” Right on! I’m so pleased to see these folks talking sense, it gives me a lot of hope for the future of acupuncture research.