Once again, I had to change the headline. The BBC headline says: Acupuncture ‘cuts blood pressure’. I added a "does not" because their article says:
Acupuncture combined with electronic stimulation can lower high blood pressure, US researchers say.
Get that? Acupuncture combined with electronic stimulation. Later the article says:
When the acupuncture was applied on its own, it had no effect on blood pressure.
OK, lets get something straight here. Acupuncture is the manipulation of “qi” (oddly, pronounced “Chi”) by inserting needles at key points in 12 “meridians”. That's what it is. So despite what these testers have arbitrarily decided to call it, running electrical current through needles is not acupuncture. The ancient Chinese, who supposedly dreamed all this up, had no clue what electricity was, and so certainly had no idea it might be used therapeutically.
Unfortunately, proponents of acupuncture (remember, that’s the thing with the “qi” and the magic needles), will falsely claim this study shows acupuncture works. It doesn’t, since they specifically say: when the acupuncture was applied on its own, it had no effect on blood pressure..
Furthermore, I note that Dr Longhurst of the study team said:
…acupuncture triggered the release of chemicals in the brain that in turn dampened the response of the cardiovascular system.
As I wrote before, this is just an assumption. He can’t possibly know this from the study, the way it is described in the BBC article.
The real conclusion of this study is that acupuncture is not even a placebo.