Does acupuncture work by placebo? Let's ask a skunk.
Earlier this year, we were delighted to see a news story about a Skunk named Luna who receives acupuncture treatments. It is observed to help her manage arthritic pain.
We've also read about an elephant who gets acupuncture at a zoo in Singapore and an elderly penguin in New Orleans who can swim much better after a 10-minute acupuncture treatment.
And of course acupuncture has been utilized widely and for many years in the horse-racing industry as well, for performance enhancement and immune support.
In fact, we've met many folks over the years who end up seeking acupuncture for pain relief because they first got to see how well it helped their dog, cat or horse.
(Just to be clear, we don't treat anyone's pets here at MAS. Many veterinarians in the surrounding area practice acupuncture for animals.)
We are not going to dispute the fact that the placebo effect is real and can be just as effective as actual interventions. It's also currently being studied itself, as the research community grapples with its understanding of the effect.
But animals receiving treatment likely don't have expectations that tiny needles will give pain relief, or increased abilities. Accordingly, we'd have a hard time attributing the benefits of acupuncture strictly to psychology.
While this debate will probably rage on, we prefer to continue to hone our collective skills and make the best use of them for folks seeking better for themselves no matter what the mechanism.
Posted in Acupuncture Blog