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To be honest my info was shaky but I just googled and it seems it's kind of like a placebo effect but a good one. There was one study where

>After eight weeks 60 per cent of patients receiving acupuncture, including with toothpicks, reported feeling better. Clinical improvements were reported by just 39 per cent of those who had conventional treatments.

but it didn't make much difference if they stuck in needles or just prodded them with toothpicks. (quote from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/toothpick-acupuncture-... dicussed by NHS here https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/acupuncture-relieve...)

And even if it's kind of placebo, if the patient feels better that's something, without the risk of an opioid epidemic.

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