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Science in an Age
of Uncertainty


Acupuncture: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Alluding to the famous Clint Eastwood western, this presentation deals with the various facets of this popular therapy: the current state of research, the success, and the excesses of the acupuncture as an economic enterprise in the German health system. The important question, however, is whether anyone needs a special training for that, in particular in China, or is the success of acupuncture due to unspecific effects?

After all, if it doesn´t matter where one puts the needles: is it OK then that acupuncture treatments are refundable by the public health insurances? Is it compatible with the medical associations´ rules for continuing education to offer and acknowledge a pseudo-education as a special qualification? Why are physicians required to apply evidence-based medicine on the one hand, whereas acupuncture – a procedure with unknown mechanisms – is granted entry into the public health system on the other hand?