Traditional (verum) acupuncture involves needling of fixed points and additional points on the body to a depth of 5 to 40 millimeters, while sham acupuncture involves needling to a depth of 1 to 3 millimeters into the lower back, avoiding known pressure points.
Patient response rate (defined as a 33 percent improvement in pain or a 12 percent improvement in functional ability) was checked after six months of treatment. Response rates were: verum group, 47.6 percent; sham group, 44.2 percent; conventional group, 27.4 percent.
"The superiority of both forms of acupuncture suggests a common underlying mechanism that may act on pain generation, transmission of pain signals or processing of pain signals by the central nervous system and that is stronger than the action mechanism of conventional therapy," wrote Dr. Michael Haake, of the University of Regensburg in Bad Abbach, and his colleagues.
HealthDay News, September 24, 2007