Articles in the News

This is a collection of news articles I have found related to Chinese medicine. There is an overwhelming fascination with acupuncture in the media so that is quite over represented but there are also stories on massage, meditation, tai chi, herbs and some of the overall concepts coming to the attention of reporters in the west. As the list has grown over time I have organised it into yearly blocks.

Since the media carries its own bias, and I believe people should make up their own minds as to whether acupuncture is right for them, I have included links to the source material, opposing articles and sometimes a very brief summary of my thoughts.

For further stories:
The BAcC list of media articles has a more comprehensive list, including copies of ones that only appeared in print.

Health CMi report on additional stories that do not find their way into the regular media, often summaries of studies published recently.


11-12-2017: Nature:
Acupuncture in cancer study reignites debate about controversial technique
Large study suggests acupuncture could help women stick with unpleasant cancer treatments. Original paper not yet published but announced via press release before presentation at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

11-11-2017: The Mirror:
Dogs, cats, birds and even elephants are getting acupuncture to help treat their arthritis and spinal injuries
Another story about animal acupuncture. In the UK you must be a vet to treat animals so I cannot give treatment to pets but a vetinary acupuncturist can be found at

19-10-2017: The Express:
Supplement warning: Weight loss herbal remedy linked to liver cancer
Despite being banned in Europe since 2001 supplements containing a cancer causing compound are still available online. It might cost more to have a customised formula prepared by an expert but the risks of getting something with harmful ingredients or adulterants is also minimised.

17-10-2017: The Telegraph:
Old age is not for taking it easy. Elderly must exercise to keep health costs down, say experts
Top medical experts advise a truth that has been known in China for millenia: that exercise can help people of all ages and even reverse some of its effects.

02-10-2017: The Guardian:
Nobel prize for medicine awarded for insights into internal biological clock
Two years after Youyou Tu won the Nobel prize for her research into artemesinin, a Chinese herb used to treat malaria, the 2017 prize goes to research which unveiled the importance of the circadian clock, first described in the Yellow Emperors Internal Classic over 2000 years ago.

07-09-2017: The Guardian:
Pains and needles: brain scans point to hidden effects of acupuncture
A bit technical but reports on some recent studies that suggest what the mechanisms of acupuncture may be and debates their use.

17-07-2017: Yahoo News:
Acupuncture punctures period pain: study
Exploratory study finds acupuncture reduces the need for pain medication and associated symptoms prompting further larger studies. Original article in PLOS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180177

04-07-2017: Daily Mail:
Zoo Uses Acupuncture to Treat Giraffe

09-05-2017: The Guardian:
Common painkillers may raise risk of heart attack by 100% – study
Doubling of a small risk may not seem significant but given the frequency with which they are used and the fact that heart disease is the number 1 killer in the western world, we should be seeking alternatives to pharmaceutical pain relief. Original study in BMJ 2017;357:j1909, DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j1909

01-05-2017: New York Times:
For Bad Backs, It May Be Time to Rethink Biases About Chiropractors
Also discusses acupuncture, heat, stretches and other non-invasive, non-pharmacological measures which the new clinical guidelines in America suggest are at least as effective and with fewer side effects than traditional treatments.

25-04-2017: BBC News:
Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds
T'ai Chi is mentioned as an example of exercise suited for improving physical and mental fitness in the older generation.

01-04-2017: The Independent:
The best way to de-stress, according to science
Not really a new revolutionary technique but rather neuroscientists identifying a part of the brain that connects breathing with emotion. This provides a mechanical explanation behind the breathing exercises that are a core component of many oriental methods of mental training and emotional balancing.

16-03-2017: The Sun:
Anthony Joshua gets acupuncture treatment as he prepares for Wembley showdown with Wladimir Klitschko

14-03-2017: Washington Post:
As attitudes change, Chinese lawmakers seek better protection for rhinos and other endangered animals
Awareness for wildlife conservation is growing in China and with it comes laws seeking protection for endangered species. None of these products are allowed in the UK where only plant substances can be used but it is good to see the home of Chinese medicine recognise these issues too.

13-03-2017: Irish Times:
Acupuncture – can it help pregnancy?
Summary of all the ways acupuncture is used to help pregnancy, from fertility and conception, through the pregnancy itself, to post-natal care. An unfortunate lack of references to back up its figures but a reasonable overview of what people use it for all the same.

11-03-2017: The Independent:
Health warning over 'toxic' herbal tea after two people fall critically ill
Story about a San Francisco store using aconite. Like the article says, it is used in many of the more potent Asian herbal formulas but has to be properly prepared to be safe. In the UK it is banned which restricts our scope but ensures safe practice providing you get your herbs from an RCHM licensed member.

2-03-2017: New York Times:
Acupuncture Can Ease Wrist Pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A study in Brain shows lasting changes to people having true over sham acupuncture. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx015

27-02-2017: People:
Abandoned, Paralyzed Kitten Tries Acupuncture and Takes Her First Steps
Because everyone likes a heart-warming story of a kitten getting better.

18-02-2017: The Independent:
No such thing as a good or bad diet, researchers say
Backs up some previous research on the same topic but also supports the rationale used in Chinese medicine that individuals require individually tailored treatments developed by tweaking their formulas over time to find what works best.

13-02-2017: New York Times:
Lower Back Ache? Be Active and Wait It Out, New Guidelines Say
New American guidelines for lower back pain are published which encourage non-invasive and non-opioid based interventions including acupuncture, massage and exercise while giving it time to heal.

09-02-2017: BBC Radio 2:
Ouch! How did Vassos find being acupunctured live on air with Chris and Dr Carolyn?

06-02-2017: The Observer:
There’s a Major War Brewing Over the Acupuncture Wikipedia Page
Its always been controversial but a group are taking wikipedia to task over their promise of neutrality by labelling acupuncture as "pseudoscience" when the medical and scientific consensus suggests otherwise. You can sign the petition here if you agree.

03-02-2017: The Guardian:
Herbal supplements' illegal ingredients pose health risk, experts warn
This same problem saw pre-made patents from China banned and all herbal remedies having to be prepared on site from individual ingredients. This may make them more labour intensive and expensive than industrially produced imports but at least you can be sure there are no prescription drugs in them.

02-02-2017: The Guardian:
Ibuprofen has little benefit in treating back pain and may cause harm
Important information for those suffering with back pain, especially considering NICE still advises your doctor recommends NSAIDs while not offering acupuncture despite the benefits from acupuncture being better demonstrated and the risks lower.

17-01-2017: TIME:
The Soothing Benefit of Acupuncture for Babies
Based on a study into reducing crying in babies with infant colic. Critics say it is due to any manual handling although their idea of "usual care" must be quite strange if the parents were not allowed to give the children their usual hugging and general TLC. Original paper is available at DOI: 10.1136/acupmed-2016-011208





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