By Kamayni Agarwal, Center for Palliative Care and Pain Medicine, T.I.P.S! Hamburg/Germany
Even though evidence of the effects of acupuncture is tentative, it has been used in the treatment of multiple maladies for more than 2000 years. Hitherto, discrimination of effects of specific results of needling itself and the venue has not been achieved. Hence, during the treatment period physicians have to rely solely on patients' statements about relief or increase of symptoms. The efficacy of infrared thermography in distinguishing response to ?true? acupuncture as compared to non-acupoint cutaneous and muscular needling (?sham? or ?minimal? acupuncture) as well as without manipulation has been assessed in this study.
Thermographic imaging was performed in 50 healthy volunteers randomly assigned to four groups: Group 1: acupuncture of hegu (LI 4), Group 2: needling of a cutaneous area, Group 3; needling of a muscular point where no acupuncture point has been described yet, and Group 4: no manipulation. In a cross-over-protocol, each proband or test subject completed all four arms of the protocol in a random order. Infrared thermography was performed at predefined points that were the same in each group.