Acupuncture for pain – as effective as morphine

When New York Times journalist James Reston went to China in 1971, he was in for a surprise. While in the country, he needed an emergency operation to remove his appendix.

To his astonishment, the physicians performed appendectomy painful surgical procedure without anaesthesia as we know it. They used acupuncture as the only means of pain control.

Following the media coverage including articles and video footage, some scientists were thrilled by the opportunities acupuncture could provide.

Researchers were not interested to show how acupuncture works. They were inspired by the prospect of creating powerful drugs with no side-effects. No addiction, no damaged stomach linings. Just powerful analgesia and healing effect acupuncture provides.

They did not succeed. Nonetheless, their studies revealed to the Western medical world acupuncture’s mechanisms and ability to treat pain.

James Reston had acupuncture for pain

Journalist James Reston (pictured with Richard Nixon) recovered from appendectomy with no other analgesia but acupuncture.