Acupuncture is not an effective cure or it would be used widely...
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, estimates for the 2012 populations of the following countries are -
China - 1,347,350,000
North Korea - 24,554,000
South Korea - 48,580,000
Japan - 127,650,000
Viet Nam – 87,840.000
If only half, half the population of those countries (listed because of their shared culture) use acupuncture it’s fair to say its use is not just widely prevalent but, by implication, also effective. If we then take into account people using acupuncture in parts of the world other than the Far East it’s beyond dispute that the treatment is not only ‘widely used’ but also widely accepted as being effective and, as stated above, now (tentatively) endorsed by the World Health Organization.
It might also be worth mentioning that acupuncture is only one form of ‘pressure-point’ treatment - there are others, thereby increasing the number of people receiving acupuncture/acupuncture-like treatments even further. Also, to extend the subject slightly, traditional Far Eastern medicinal remedies (though largely unknown let alone understood in Western medical circles) are in an efficacy class of their own (I’ll personally vouch for it) with Korea being recognised throughout that part of the world as the leader in the knowledge, collation (in manuscript form) and application of those remedies.
Perhaps if we stop insisting that things don’t or can’t work (or can’t just ‘be’) because we don’t yet have proof that they do we’d move towards the what ‘might be’ and the ‘what is possible’. Certainly, in the case of traditional medicinal remedies (not only those in the Far East but elsewhere in the world) research and an open mind towards understanding those things is needed before they, and their possible benefits, are lost to us forever.
NB, as tsc has pointed out elsewhere, Hamlet, act 1, scene 5 (159–167 ;-)
I've used acupuncture very successfully, as has my previously sceptical Dad. It works, as do many alternative therapies like ayurverda, for example. The Westen arrogance towards other cultural and ancient sytems of medicine is ludicrous. They're ancient and still in use because they more often than not work. An Indian ex-girlfriend of mine found this very amusing in general, and regarded a lot of Western attitudes towards things alternative/'spiritual' as backward!