SAR's January 2012 Think Tank and Subsequent White Paper

In an effort to synthesize and harness the momentum from our 2010 conference, the SAR Board of Directors also met on January 19-22, 2012 at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA to draft a White Paper focusing on the comparative use of electrical and manual acupuncture within the continuum of basic science mechanisms, clinical research, and practitioner usage. This effort built on our previous White Paper conference, which culminated in the publication “Paradoxes in acupuncture research: strategies for moving forward,” published in 2011 (Langevin et al, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011).

During our 2012 Think Tank/White Paper conference, the SAR Board engaged in a critical review of the basic and clinical research evidence to-date on manual and electrical acupuncture, from which the following perspective was identified: Despite substantial growth in the field of acupuncture research in the last decade, significant challenges remain in drawing overall conclusions from the available data. One important factor contributing to this lack of clarity is the indiscriminate use of the term “acupuncture” which does not differentiate between diverse interventions and techniques. In particular, potential differences between the two most common modes of needle stimulation, manual and electrical, are poorly understood and largely unaddressed.” The SAR Board systematically evaluated the published literature on manual and electrical acupuncture and explored a bi-directional translation of research findings between these two specific forms of acupuncture therapy.

The findings and recommendations of this White Paper will be presented by the SAR Board in a symposium at the third International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (IRCIMH) in Portland Oregon, May 15-18 2012 and will be submitted for publication to a biomedical journal.

SAR is enormously grateful to the following organizations that sponsored the 2012 Think Tank:

The Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture

Logan College of Chiropractic

The Samueli Institute

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