ACUPUNCTURE WORKS

AN NIH PANEL ENDORSES THE ANCIENT CHINESE NEEDLE TREATMENT--AT LEAST FOR SOME CONDITIONS

For an ancient Chinese custom that turns patients into human pincushions, acupuncture is surprisingly popular these days. America's growing interest in alternative medicine and the quasi endorsement of the Food and Drug Administration (which last year took acupuncture's extra-fine needles off its list of "experimental" medical devices) have helped create a sharp spike in demand for the prickly procedure. About a million Americans spend $500 million a year on acupuncture for complaints ranging from gallstones to migraines to low-back pain; today even dogs and horses are trotting off to see their acupuncturists.

But does it work? Most Western-trained physicians remain skeptical....