A 29 study metaanalysis done by Sloan Kettering scientists and published in Archives of Internal Medicine in September of 2012 suggests that placebo accounts for the bulk of the effect of acupuncture. They found that about half of the 18,000 patients involved in these studies had about a 50% reduction in pain and that 43% with sham treatment responded as well as 30% of the controls who had no treatment. They also mentioned that the cost for treatment was about $100 and that insurances generally don't pay for much of its costs.
The article insinuates that acupuncture should be considered after trying mainstream drug approaches. It is amazing to me that drugs like NSAIDs and TNF-alpha drugs such as Humira, Enbrel, Remicade and Simponi would be recommended before considering acupuncture. There are 30,000 deaths from NSAIDs and 300,000 hospitalizations annually in the US and one in 3 people taking TNF alpha blockers will die from the drug in 5 years, many will suffer from major infections and other complications, and it only works in 25-50% of people taking them. There are no deaths from acupuncture.
Another problem with this study is that the placebo effect is overlooked as something valuable...another treatment that has no side effects and is highly cost effective. Where has the commonsense of our scientists gone?