If you've got friends who sneer about alternative medicine, and who tell you there's no proof it works, just give them this two-word answer: 'osteoarthritis' and 'acupuncture'. You can also stick your tongue out afterwards, but that bit is entirely discretionary, and it depends just how much of a good friend they are.
Just before Christmas a study from Australia definitively proved that acupuncture was of enormous benefit to patients with osteoarthritis. Now a medical trial in Spain has replicated the Australian findings.
The Spanish trial selected 97 outpatients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Half were treated with acupuncture, and the rest with 'dummy' acupuncture, where the needle is deliberately inserted at the wrong point. Those had the proper acupuncture reported less pain and greater movement of the joint.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2004; 329: 1216-9).