Acupuncture Efficacy And Indications


Acupuncture  Updated: Mon, Oct 22, 2012 04:07 AM   By HugChina


Acupuncture clinical efficacy data has been summarized in 1990s by NIH and WHO concluding that there is sufficient evidence of acupuncture's value to treat diseases.

Acupuncture has been continuously and widely used as a primary medical modality for over 2,500 years in the most populous civilization on earth (China and its sphere of East Asian cultural influence). As such, acupuncture has both broad and deep clinical experience. Ancient and modern acupuncture texts and collective clinical experience include differential diagnosis and treatment protocols for the full spectrum of illnesses and injuries known to humankind.

With the contemporary concerns for evidence basis of medical treatment, acupuncture has become the subject of over 1,000 published clinical trials, accessible in databases such as PubMed and the National Library of Medicine. Over 100 literature reviews and meta-analyses are now also available at the same sources.

Acupuncture clinical efficacy data has been summarized recently by two panels of non-advocate researchers and scientists convened by public agencies.

In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a consensus report that concluded "The data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western Medical therapies…There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture's value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value" (NIH 1997) .

The World Health Organization also issued a report in 1996 on the efficacy of acupuncture, based on review of an extensive database of clinical trials. The conditions listed below are organized by the degree of evidence of acupuncture efficacy identified in the WHO report. Conditions which are listed in the NIH Consensus Panel’s report are also included below, and indicated thus: (NIH).

1. Diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved, through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment.”


Dental pain (NIH)


Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)

Infectious Diseases

Dysentery, acute bacillary


Rheumatoid arthritis

Internal Medicine

Biliary colic

Epigastralgia, acute (incl. PUD, gastritis, gastrospasm)

Hypertension, essential

Hypotension, primary

Nausea & vomiting


Renal colic


Dysmenorrhea, primary

Induction of labor

Malposition of fetus

Morning sickness/pregnancy nausea (NIH)


Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, incl. nausea & vomiting

Neurology, Orthopedics & Physical Medicine

Facial pain and spasm

Fascitis, myofascial pain

Fibromyalgia (NIH)

Headache (NIH)

Knee pain

Low back pain (NIH)

Neck pain

Periarthritis of Shoulder

Post-operative pain




Temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction

Tennis elbow or epicondylitis (NIH)


Depression (including depressive neurosis, and post-stroke)

2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed.”

Addiction (NIH)

Alcohol dependence & detox

Opium, cocaine, and heroin dependence

Tobacco dependence


Acne vulgaris




Female urethral syndrome

Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic

Prostatitis, chronic

Recurrent lower urinary tract infection

Retention of urine, traumatic




Epistaxis, simple

Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection

Meniere's disease

Sjogren's syndrome

Sore throat (incl. tonsillitis)

Infectious Disease

Epidemic haemorrhagic fever

Hepatitis B virus carrier status

Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)

Whooping cough (pertusis)

Internal Medicine

Abdominal pain (acute gastroenteritis or gastrointestinal spasm)

Bronchial asthma (NIH)

Cardiac neurosis

Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation


Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin dependent

Gastrokinetic disturbance


Ulcerative colitis, chronic


Female infertility


Labour pain

Lactation deficiency

Menstrual cramps (NIH only)

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome

Neurology, Orthopedics & Physical Medicine

Bell's palsy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (NIH only)

Craniocerebral injury, closed

Osteo- and Gouty arthritis (NIH)

Radicular and pseudoradicular pain

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

Spine pain, acute

Stiff neck

Stroke rehabilitation (NIH only)

Tietze's syndrome

Tourette's syndrome


Cancer pain


Post-extubation in children


Competition stress syndrome



Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans

Raynaud's syndrome, primary

Vascular dementia



Pain due to endoscopic examination

Post-operative convalescence

Sialism, drug-induced

3. Diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult.


Choroidopathy, central serous

Color blindness



Irritable colon syndrome

Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury

Pulmonary heart disease, chronic

Small airway obstruction
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