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A Need for Needles - Acupuncture

Does it Really Work?

Co Authors:

Sarah G. Stonefoot
Department of Art & Art History
Beloit College

Clyde Freeman Herreid
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo


In this case study, students evaluate information about the use of acupuncture and consider the possibilities of alternative therapies while at the same time questioning their effectiveness. To complete the case, students collect information from Internet sources and journal publications from both a "pro" and "con" point of view, with an emphasis on carefully evaluating the credibility of the information they collect. The case would be suitable for introductory level courses in biology and science.

  • To consider alternative medical therapies in general and acupuncture in particular.
  • To evaluate information and data to determine whether there is enough scientific evidence to conclude that acupuncture is an effective form of treatment.
Keywords: Acupuncture; alternative medicine; complementary medicine; pain management; electroacupuncture; qi; yin; yang; moxibustion; cupping; endorphin theory; gate-control theory; placebo effect; evidence based medicine; nervous system
Topical Area: Scientific argumentation
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Discussion
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Science (General)   Medicine (General)  
Date Posted: 06/28/04
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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