Acupuncture really can relieve pain in our joints, scientists have discovered - which suggests that the Eastern view of the body as a complex and inter-related energy system may have something going for it, after all. It "significantly" reduced joint pain and stiffness in a group of 43 women who were receiving conventional breast cancer treatment. The women were either given true acupuncture or a 'sham' version, thus eliminating the possibility that the benefits were all in the mind. The researchers, from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, reported that acupuncture was so effective that 20 per cent of the women were able to stop their pain medication - whereas none who had the sham acupuncture were able to do so. (Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2010; 28: 1154).