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Study suggests power of placebo effect

A new study published online Dec. 23 in the journal Cancer suggests that acupuncture works but not because the needles have any special effect.

Researchers followed a group of 47 women treated with acupuncture for joint and muscle pain.

Twenty-three received acupuncture, while 24 received a kind of "sham acupuncture" where needles were placed randomly and not actually inserted.

All patients reported the same thing: their treatment had lessened their pain -- suggesting that the real reason acupuncture works is because it can unleash the power of the placebo effect.

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Washington Times