Pointed Science

University of Vermont neurologist Helene Langevin explains some emerging research attempting to explain the benefits of acupuncture.

By | May 1, 2013

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Avatar of: T S Raman

T S Raman

Posts: 51

May 5, 2013


"The Scientist", I believe, is a "reviewing" journal, not one that publishes original peer reviewed papers or other articles. The majority of its readers are not experts, and some do not even have a scientific background. These readers all depend on journals like The Scientist to enable them to get a general view of the latest developments in science. Therefore, The Scientist has to be extremely careful NOT to publish spurious science. In this particular case, The Scientist ought to have taken notice of the fact that the so-called "meridians", the very basis of acupuncture, are mythical. Meridians exist only in the minds of acupuncturists, and do not have a physical existence. 

One of the characteristics of every "system" of  "alternative medicine" is that they all build, as the essential part of their armament, “Entire vocabularies of unintelligible jargon to describe kingdoms of non-existent thought.” To quote Lewis Lapham from another context.

I said at the outset that I am "surprised". It is much more than that. I am perplexed and shocked.

Avatar of: A B Dittrich

A B Dittrich

Posts: 1

May 17, 2013

T S Raman clearly has some axe to grind relative to acupunture. "Meridians" are mentioned in Dr. Langevin's final paragraph of a lengthy and well-researched, well-referenced article, as a convenient jargon, in the same way a navigator might refer to meridians on the planet as a convenient way to locate a ship, or an island.

Acupuncture may be alternative to western medicine as T S Raman understands western medicine, but the point of Dr. Langevin's work is to identify actual physiological bases for what is happening with acupuncture needles. She is not making any claims about acupuncture's effectiveness vis a vis "mainstream" medicine, only demonstrating and explaining the stretching effect of the needle twist.

And let me declaim here that I don't know Dr. Langevin, I have never had acupuncture, and am not related to nor do I know any acupuncurists. I simply think that we need to let research and facts lead us where they may.

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