On 16th January 2024, The Star, a Sheffield-based newspaper, wrote an article - Acu Seeds: Sheffield health firm founder inspired by chronic fatigue 'cure' to appear on Dragons' Den. This is our response:
Whilst we’re pleased to see that this business owner feels recovered from her symptoms, it is important to state that there is no scientific evidence for any of the listed methods in curing ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
As there is no cure or effective treatment for ME/CFS it is understandable that people turn to alternative or complementary medicine such as ear seeds, which are a needle-free form of acupuncture or acupressure.
Some studies have shown that acupuncture can give some people short-term relief from headaches and some forms of chronic pain, as well as nausea and vomiting. However, there is no evidence that it can cure ME/CFS.
However, there is no evidence that it can cure ME/CFS and much experience among the community of people living with ME is that many alternative medicines have taken large amounts of money but resulted in no or little improvement. It is crucial that people who are desperate to feel better are not used as a business opportunity for unproven remedies implied to 'cure' or improve symptoms.
We are open to alternative approaches, however, our recommendations are limited to treatments supported by robust scientific evidence affirming their safety and effectiveness. Sometimes we feel it is necessary to warn others about highly speculative treatments and unevidenced treatments that incur significant costs and make bold claims.
We request that The Star edits its article and anywhere it is published (including social media) to add that there is no evidence that alternative or complementary medicine can cure ME/CFS as is claimed and it includes signposting to established organisations that support and can provide advice to people with ME/CFS.
Well-researched, evidence-based not-for-profit advice and support can be found at the ME Association, a national charity for people with ME/CFS.
We offer local advice and support to people with ME/CFS, and their families and carers, who live in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.