Athlete has bad headaches, goes to “therapist” who decides that sticking a needle in her chest will fix her headaches. Lung collapses, athlete’s life is trashed. This is called “traditional Chinese medicine.”
The therapist accidentally pierced Ms. Ribble-Orr’s left lung during acupuncture treatment that was later deemed unnecessary and ill-advised, causing the organ to collapse and leaving it permanently damaged. An Ontario court has just upheld the one-year disciplinary suspension imposed on therapist Scott Spurrell, rejecting his appeal in a case that highlights a rare but well-documented side effect of acupuncture.
Mr. Spurrell, who learned the ancient Chinese art on weekends at a local university, had no reason to stick the needle in his patient’s chest, and had wrongly advised Ms. Ribble-Orr that the chest pain and other symptoms she reported later were likely just from a muscle spasm, a discipline tribunal ruled.
It’s time for people to stop calling acupuncture things like “the ancient Chinese art” and other such honorifics. It’s just sticking needles in people for no medical reason. It’s bad and stupid and calling it an ancient art doesn’t make it any less so.
Acupuncture involves inserting solid needles into the body at specific points to encourage natural healing, improve mood and relieve pain, among other benefits, according to the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute. Proponents tout it as a safe, drug-free alternative to traditional medicine, one that is used by close to one in 10 Canadians, a 2007 Alberta study suggested.
A Danish analysis of randomized clinical trials in 2009, however, concluded that acupuncture offered only a slight, clinically irrelevant benefit over placebo acupuncture for pain.
How “safe” can it really be when it involves sticking needles into people? “Safe” is things like murmuring incantations, it’s not sticking needles into people.