The mark ups are what they are going from home to professional. Just how it is in all industries - you pay for the duty.
I would go so far as to say it’s effects are relatively straightforward, simple, and depending upon the intensity, devastating.
The complexity that lies underneath, well, we just don’t have the science to understand it. The causes of disease prior to the advent of microbiology were mystifying, and science resorted to speculative theories like miasma, which were nonetheless widely accepted. You can’t not have an answer. When the plague runs through, there has to be meaning, from God or whomever.
Dirac summed it up well for the hard sciences, to which the scientific method is best suited, ‘The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way’
But can we understand pain, which is an expression of consciousness, through science? Anymore than we can understand happy, scientifically? That is light years beyond our capability, so we fill the vacuum with our modern day equivalence of miasma as we plod away at it. We can make some correlations and make a few statements, but we don’t understand it.
You’ve put a lot of thought into it. You’ve even stumbled upon the role of ministration in the art of medicine. You’d be surprised how few are aware of it.
I think if you give it considered thought, you can’t dismiss something like acupuncture, precisely because you’ve admitted whatever it is treating is poorly understood. I’m not too fussed either way, but I see no basis to dismiss it anymore than any of these weak modalities - all the hot\cold presses, massages, trigger points, chiro, Bowen therapy, TENS, shiatsu etc. They all have physiological effects. Heck, even placebo will have a physiological effect. All emotions do. A lot of these things probably work in ways we don’t understand.
You’ve appreciated the subtlety that placebo is real, but you must believe. I like it.