Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Because fascia

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Get posts in your inbox:
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

This popular article about how acupuncture works “because fascia” is riddled with problems. Alt-med celebrity Helene Langevin makes a mountain out of a biology molehill: the mildly interesting fact that tissue is a bit “grabby” and hangs onto acupuncture needles. This may or may not have anything to do with fascia, but so what if it does? Does it matter? Can such tiny fascial stretches relieve pain? In fact, we know that they don’t, because we know that acupuncture proper doesn’t relieve pain, and therefore doesn’t need any explaining in terms of fascia or anything else. Nevertheless, this is the purpose of the article, and Langevin lobs out a major bonus, bogus premise to clinch her case that acupuncture is probably all about fascia: according to her own research, acupuncture meridians correspond to fascial structures. But the “mysterious” meridians are “nothing more than a rudimentary and prescientific model of blood vessels and nerves” (Kavoussi), because until about a hundred years ago, acupuncture was pretty much the Eastern version of bloodletting, and its needles were more like little knives. There is no meaningful connection between fascia and acupuncture meridians. This article is a classic example — one of the best — of trying to make fascia (and acupuncture) sound much more medically important than the evidence can possibly justify.

PainSci Member Login » Submit your email to unlock member content. If you can’t remember/access your registration email, please contact me. ~ Paul Ingraham, PainSci Publisher