Seen and photographed on E. 44th St., about a block or two from the United Nations building:




Acupuncture, energy balancing, this guy’s got it all–because nothing’s too good for our diplomats.


  1. #1 Ramel
    August 11, 2008

    Is this quack actually linked to the UN, or just using their name?

  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    August 11, 2008

    One world,
    One woo,
    Let’s get together and feel alright.

  3. #3 jba
    August 11, 2008

    I also want to know if this place is affiliated with the UN. Not that it would lower my opinion of them or even really be surprising… but still.

    OT sorta, but can anyone tell me the difference between acupuncture and acupressure? I have a buddy who claims the former is woo but the later is legit. From what I have read (which is little) they seem the same only one has needles.

  4. #4 Natalie
    August 11, 2008

    Jba, you’ve got it basically right. Acupressure is just pressing down on the points where you would stick needles, rather than putting needles in there.

  5. #5 NickG
    August 11, 2008

    Natalie: “You’ve got it basically right. Acupressure is just pressing down on the points where you would stick needles, rather than putting needles in there.”

    Not exactly right. I dated a guy in college who did accupressure, so while I don’t buy the woo (and didn’t even when I was in college) I have experienced it. And I have had needles stuck in my skin (albeit not true accupuncture). The former feels *really effing good* the later hurts mildly.

  6. #6 IBY
    August 11, 2008

    I have seen acupuncture being done. It doesn’t look nice when you see people having needles stick out of them. Though, the people under it do feel relief. Of course, the effect is mostly placebo.

  7. #7 James
    August 11, 2008

    Unacupuncture? Is that where they don’t stick needles in you and you feel better? I think I like that better. And I can do it at home that way without paying someone for it!

  8. #8 Peter Borah
    August 12, 2008

    Why do you assume acupuncture is woo? True, there aren’t enough studies on it yet, but it seems that there’s a good chance that it actually works.

  9. #9 Sophist FCD
    August 12, 2008

    It is woo to the extent that the practitioner claims effects beyond what you get from some random guy sticking needles in you willy-nilly.

  10. #10 Sophist FCD
    August 12, 2008

    In more direct terms, if the words “chi” or “meridians” are involved it’s bullshit.

  11. #11 amhovgaard
    August 12, 2008

    NickG: So, you had some guy you dated give you a massage with a fancy name? I can see how that might feel “really effing good”. Don’t think “chi” had anything to do with it though LOL

  12. #12 NickG
    August 12, 2008

    “So, you had some guy you dated give you a massage with a fancy name? I can see how that might feel ‘really effing good’. Don’t think ‘chi’ had anything to do with it though LOL”

    Absolutely. However that and rolfing are one of the few types where they apply enough pressure that I can actually feel it. That or if you use the end of a maglite to give you leverage on my shoulders.

    But my point is mostly that you can actually experience woo and enjoy it without buying into the woo part. There is an Ayurvedic restaurant near where I work that has awesome food. And while the woo part of it is crap, its quite tasty and a lot healthier than McDonalds.

  13. #13 Liesl
    August 12, 2008

    I’m with you, NickG. I go to a deep tissue guy and it has helped me quite a bit. Thankfully, he isn’t wooriffic. Chi? notsomuch. Bad posture and long hours hunched over grading papers? yup.

  14. #14 Nemo
    August 13, 2008

    I think in this case “U.N.” is just being used to indicate the location, as though it were a neighborhood or street name.

  15. #15 Li
    August 13, 2008

    I’m puzzled as to why you think acupuncture is woo. I recently attended a conference at an NCI-designated cancer center, and a researcher gave a presentation on various alternative remedies in cancer treatment. There are actually good studies that show acupuncture is an effective treatment for nausea and pain, and the herb dong quai (commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine) is being investigated as a chemopreventive for breast cancer.

  16. #16 Orac
    August 13, 2008

    Search this blog for the word “acupuncture.”

    I used to think there might be something to acupuncture, but the more I learn about it and the more studies I see, the more I’m convinced that it’s nothing more than an elaborate placebo. Certainly the whole business about “redirecting the flow of qi” is nothing but woo.

  17. #17 HCN
    August 13, 2008

    Li, some suggested reading:


    Also, if you wish to learn more about a blog author’s opinion then put the desired subject like “acupuncture” in the search box, which is located under the list of archive months and above the blog roll on the left hand side of this page. You will see a posting specifically on acupuncture done in Sept. 2007 (there is a two URL limit, so I shall not post the link).

  18. #18 jba
    August 14, 2008

    Thanks Natalie, I thought that’s what the deal was. Unfortunately this buddy of mine isn’t the type to change his mind even if I presented him with evidence. Still gotta try though. 🙂

  19. #19 Loren Pechtel
    August 23, 2008

    There certainly is a lot of woo but I do think there is something to acupuncture beyond the placebo effect. If it were pure placebo all practitioners would get about the same results. Twenty years of marriage to one has shown me that that’s not the case–she wouldn’t be able to help those who weren’t helped by some of the not very qualified ones in town.

    My impression is that the theory behind it is pure woo, there is nothing to chi or meridians. What I think has happened is that they discovered some things that work and concocted a theory to explain them without really knowing what was going on. Generation upon generation of practitioners teaching their students what they had found effective would tend to evolve things that work–after all, with a reasonable knowledge of anatomy there is little risk in experimenting.

    There certainly are some placebo things amongst what they do–without a controlled study you’ll never weed out those things that only work for placebo reasons.

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