MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

After yesterday’s post mentioning ‘biopuncture’, I am sure you are all dying to know what this mysterious treatment might be. A website promoting biopuncture tells us (almost) all we need to know:

Biopuncture is a therapy whereby specific locations are injected with biological products. The majority of the products are derived from plants. Most of these injections are given into the skin or into muscles. Products commonly used in Biopuncture are, for example, arnica, echinacea, nux vomica and chamomile. Arnica is used for muscle pain, nux vomica is injected for digestive problems, echinacea is used to increase the natural defense system of the body. Biopuncturists always inject cocktails of natural products. Lymphomyosot is used for lymphatic drainage, Traumeel for inflammations and sports injuries, Spascupreel for muscular cramps. Injections with antiflogistics, hyaluronic acid, blood platelets, blood, procaine, ozon, cortisone or vitamin B are not considered as Biopuncture…

How can such a small dose influence your body and stimulate healing? Scientists don’t have the final proof yet, but they postulate that these injections are working through the stimulation of the immune system (which is in fact your defense system). Let’s compare it with a vaccination. When you receive a tetanus vaccination, only small amounts of a particular product are necessary to stimulate the immune system against lockjaw. In other words, just a few injections can protect your body for years…

An important issue in Biopuncture is the detoxification of the body. It literally means “cleaning the body” from all the toxins that have accumulated: for example from the environment (air pollution, smoking), from bad nutrition, or from medication (e.g., antibiotics and steroids you’ve taken). These toxins can block your defense system. Some injections work specifically on the liver and others on the kidneys. Cleaning up the lymphatic system with Lymphomyosot is considered very important in Biopuncture. It is like taking the leaves out of the gutter. The down side of such an approach is that old symptoms (which have been suppressed earlier on) may come to the surface again. But that is sometimes part of the healing strategy of the body…

That sounds strange, to say the least. But remember: strange treatments might still work! The question is therefore: IS BIOPUNCTURE AN EFFECTIVE THERAPY? If you ask it to Dr Oz, the answer would be a resounding YES – but let’s not ask Oz, let’s try to find some reliable evidence instead. In my quest to locate such evidence, I came across claims like these.

Examples of some acute conditions we treat with biopuncture: 

  • Knee and ankle sprains
  • Muscle sprains- quadriceps, hamstring, adductors, rotator cuff
  • Whiplash 

Examples of some chronic conditions we treat with biopuncture: 

  • Headaches
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Chronic arthritis of the knee, hip, shoulder
  • Back pain
  • Myofascial pains
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • TMJ syndrome

Somehow I had the feeling that this was more than a little too optimistic, and I decided to conduct a rudimentary Medline search. The results were sobering indeed: not a single clinical trial seems to be available that supports any of the claims that are being made for biopuncture.

So, what should we conclude? I don’t know about you, but to me it seems that biopuncture is quackery at its purest.

5 Responses to Biopuncture = quackery at its purest

  • Blimey! So “we treat” certain chronic condititons with biopuncture = evidence. One of the most ridiculous claims I’ve seen: do we give an annual prize for illogical claims?

    “An important issue in Biopuncture is the detoxification of the body. It literally means “cleaning the body” from all the toxins that have accumulated: ……”. For starters ‘biopuncture’ in no stretch of the imagination means, ‘cleaning the body’. My limited knowledge of Latin tells me that Bio=life punctum=point, prick, dot, puncture.

    This sort of quackery is highly dangerous and there is no end to the – er – inaccuracies that they will speak about in order to make money.

  • Treat recurring headaches with an injection of something biological? What’s wrong with paracetamol?

    And if that doesn’t work, see someone who might just recognise it could be a brain tumour.

    It is such a pity that people with such obvious imagination and creativity can’t use it in a way that benefits humanity instead of inventing things like biopuncture.

  • That sounds bloody scary. Some lunatic who hasn’t a clue what they’re doing injecting stuff into people’s bodies. Sounds like a fatal accident waiting to happen.

  • “Scientists don’t have the final proof yet, but they postulate that these injections are working through the stimulation of the immune system” I wonder how they’ll rationalise away any anaphylactic reactions which occur.

    But seriously – they are injecting substances with therapeutic, not cosmetic, intent. Doesn’t that make them subject to a lot of legislation from which they don’t have special pleading exemption?

    • the proof for ‘stimulation of the immune system’ would be very easy to do.
      the fact is that scientists know this method is bonkers.

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