- In 2016 The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published a review of 22 trials and a total of 4,985 patients which showed that acupuncture may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and may be as effective as preventative drugs.
Child labor pain management
- In 2002 Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published a study in which 210 patients in active labor were given either acupuncture or sham acupuncture (control). The results showed acupuncture reduced the experience of labor pain, need for pain medication and time spent in labor.
- In 2016 Acupuncture in Medicine published a clinical trial including 153 fibromyalgia patients who received either acupuncture or sham acupuncture. After 10 weeks (one session per week) the acupuncture group saw a greater reduction in pain compared to the sham acupuncture group. The results persisted at the one year mark.
- In 2010 Acupuncture in Medicine published a study which found that 5 minutes of acupuncture prior to dental treatments reduced anxiety in 20 patients with moderate-to severe dental anxiety to the point that dental treatment was possible in all 20 cases, where it had previously only been possible in 6 cases.
Chronic neck pain
- In 2006 Pain published a study in which 12,275 patients with chronic neck pain received up to 15 acupuncture sessions over three months along with usual care. Compared to a control group of 1886 patients who only received usual care, the acupuncture group saw greater improvement in neck pain, with results maintained through six months.
- In 2010 The American Journal of Chinese Medicine published a study in which 34 patients with chronic neck myofascial pain syndrome received either real or sham acupuncture 6 times (twice per week) over 3 weeks. Twelve weeks after the end of treatment patients who received real acupuncture saw greater improvements in physical functioning and quality of life compared to a sham acupuncture group.
- In 2001 BMJ published a study of 177 patients in which five acupuncture treatments over three weeks resulted in improvements in chronic neck pain particularly in patients with myofascial pain syndrome.
- In 2016 The Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews published a meta-analysis including 12 trials and 2349 patients for which the researchers concluded that acupuncture is effective for treating frequent or chronic tension headaches – though the overall quality of the evidence was moderate-to-low.
- In 2008 Anesthesia and Analgesia published a review of 31 studies which found that acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture (control) for treating tension headaches. The data also showed acupuncture was superior to medication therapy for headache intensity, frequency and response rate.
- In 2017 JAMA Internal Medicine published a study in which 245 participants were either assigned to a control group, sham acupuncture group or treated with a total of 20 acupuncture sessions (5 days per week for 4 weeks). Results showed that acupuncture was more effective in reducing long-term migraine recurrence when compared to sham acupuncture or no acupuncture.
- In 2002 Headache published a study of 160 women comparing acupuncture to flunarizine (migraine preventive drug) for the prevention of migraines without aura. Acupuncture was more effective within the first four months, with no difference seen between the two treatments at 6 months. Only acupuncture reduced pain intensity. Side effects were also significantly less in the acupuncture group.
- In 2011 Cephalaliga published a study in which 66 patients with chronic migraine received either 24 acupuncture sessions or the migraine preventative drug topiramate over a 12-week period. The results showed a significantly larger decease in headache days in the acupuncture group and a significantly lower rate of negative side effects (6 percent compared to 66 percent in the topiramate group).
Reduced alcohol dependence and withdrawal
- In 2016 Chinese Medicine published a review of 15 clinical trials and a total of 1378 patients. The researchers found that acupuncture was effective in reducing alcohol craving and withdrawal symptoms and could be considered as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence.
Post chemotherapy fatigue
- In 2004 the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study in which 31 patients with severe chemotherapy-related-fatigue saw an average 31 percent improvement in fatigue levels following 6-8 acupuncture treatments.
- In 2008 the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a controlled trial involving 649 patients which found that which women who received acupuncture saw greater improvements in dysmenorrhea-related pain and quality of life compared to a control group who received no acupuncture.
- In 2012 Acupuncture in Medicine published a small pilot study involving 11 patients which suggested that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN (Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy).
- In 2010 Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion published a study in which 64 patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy were divided into two treatment groups – acupuncture or cobamamide (vitamin B12) injections. Acupuncture was the more effective treatment with a 67 percent success rate compared to 40 percent in the cobamamide group.
Severe constipation – electroacupuncture
- In 2016 Annals of Internal Medicine published a study in which 1075 patients with chronic, severe constipation received 28 sessions of electroacupuncture or sham acupuncture over 8 weeks. The acupuncture group saw a significant increase in spontaneous bowel movements while the sham acupuncture group did not.
Chronic lateral epicondylitis
- In 2002 Rheumatology published a double-blind study in which 45 patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis were assigned to 10 treatments (2 per week) of either acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Two months after the end of treatment real acupuncture was superior to sham acupuncture in reducing pain and improving arm function.
Menopause-related vasomotor symptoms
- In 2016 Menopause published a study involving 209 menopausal and postmenopausal women in which a 36 percent reduction in vasomotor symptoms was seen after 6 months and up to 20 acupuncture treatments, compared to a 6 percent reduction in a control group.
- In 2007 Neurological Research published a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which 32 hypertensive or pre-hypertensive individuals received either real or sham acupuncture for 8 weeks. The group that received true acupuncture saw a significant reduction in blood pressure while the sham group did not.
Osteoarthritis of the knee
- In 2005 Lancet published a study, including 294 patients, which found that patients who received 12 acupuncture sessions over an 8 week period had reduced pain and improved joint function more than a control group or a minimal acupuncture group.
- In 2012 Pain published a single-blind study comparing three treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee in 120 patients. Treatments included acupuncture with an anti-inflammatory drug (etorcoxib), sham acupuncture with etorcoxib or etorcoxib alone. The anti-inflammatory drug with acupuncture was found to be more effective than the drug treatment alone or sham acupuncture with the drug.
- in 2004 Acupuncture in Medicine published a 30-patient study which showed that electroacupuncture twice weekly for 5 weeks was more effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee compared to medication alone. There was no loss of benefit after one month.
Breast cancer patients
- In 2015 The American Journal of Chinese Medicine published a study which found that acupuncture was effective in reducing postoperative anxiety, tension and pain in 20 patients who had undergone breast reconstruction or mastectomy.
- In 2003 the International Journal of Impotence Research published a study involving 20 patients which found that acupuncture specific for erectile dysfunction (ED) was effective in 68 percent of psychogenic ED patients compared to 9 percent in a group who received an acupuncture protocol designed for headaches.
- In 2004 Pain published an 8-week trial which compared that electro-acupuncture with sham acupuncture (control group) for shoulder pain. Six-month follow-up results showed that the acupuncture group showed significantly greater improvements in pain intensity compared with the control group. The authors of the study concluded that acupuncture can be an effective long-term treatment for patients with shoulder pain.
- In 2015 Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology published a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which 175 participants with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) received 12 sessions of either real or sham acupuncture over a 4-week period. Real acupuncture was significantly better in reducing allergy symptoms and improving quality of life.
- In 2008 Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology conducted a study in which 5,237 patients with allergic rhinitis received 15 acupuncture treatments or were assigned to a control group. The acupuncture group saw greater improvements in quality of life after 3 and 6 months.
Neck pain in cancer patients
- In 2010 the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a 4-week controlled study involving 58 patients which found that weekly acupuncture reduced pain, dysfunction and xerostamia to a greater extent than usual care in patients with cancer and a history of neck dissection.
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- In 2007 The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published a study which found that acupuncture was similarly effective to group-based cognitive-behavioral therapy in treating PTSD. Additionally, positive results were maintained at 3-month follow-up.
Increased pregnancy rate
- In 2002 Fertility and Sterility published a study in which 160 women undergoing assisted reproduction therapy (ART) were divided into two groups; one group which received acupuncture 25 minutes both before and after embryo transfer and a control group. The acupuncture group had 34 pregnancies out of 80 patients (42.5 percent) while the control group saw 21 pregnancies out of 80 patients (26.3 percent).
- In 2006 Fertility and Sterility published a study involving 273 women which found that, compared to a control group, acupuncture significantly improved pregnancy rates in women receiving IVF (in vitro fertilization) when performed on the day of Embryo Transfer.
Minor depression and anxiety
- In 2000 Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie published a 56-patient, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial which found that 10 acupuncture sessions significantly improved depression and anxiety in patients with minor depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
Reduced stress and anxiety in elderly individuals
- In 2010 Neuroscience Letters published a study which found that 6 sessions of acupuncture was able to reduced stress, anxiety and depression scores in young and elderly adults. T-cell (white blood cell responsible for immunity) count also increased, with greater concentration in the elderly group.
Reduced hot flashes in women with breast cancer
- In 2016 the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study in which 190 breast cancer patients received either self-care instructions (including hormonal therapy) alone or combined with acupuncture to treat climacteric syndrome (hot flashes). The 85 women in the acupuncture/self-care group saw a significantly greater reduction in hot flashes and higher quality of life scores compared to the 105 women in the self-care-only group.
- In 2013 the Public Library of Science published a clinical trial in which 755 patients with depression were assigned to acupuncture, counseling or usual care. At 3 and 12 months the acupuncture and counseling groups saw greater improvements in depression than the usual care group.
- In 2007 Anesthesia and Analgesia published a double-blind study in which 20 volunteers underwent one week of real acupuncture and one week of sham acupuncture in a single hand and forearm, with one week between treatments. The acupuncture group had significant increases in nitric oxide levels which lead to improved local circulation – at 5 and 60 minutes, while no change was recorded in the sham group.
Chronic lower back pain
- In 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine published a study in which 638 adults with chronic lower back pain received 10 treatments (over 7 weeks) of either real acupuncture, simulated acupuncture or usual case. After 8 weeks both real and simulate acupuncture improved symptoms and dysfunction significantly more than usual care. The authors note that it is not clear whether simulated acupuncture provided an actual benefit or whether it represents a placebo effect.
- In 2013 Spine published a clinical trial in which 116 adults with chronic lower back pain received either real or sham acupuncture (twice a week) for at least 6 weeks. At 8 weeks the group that received real acupuncture had significant reductions in pain intensity compared to the sham group. The improvements continued until the 3-month follow-up mark.
- In 2004 Digestion published a study in which 51 patients with mild-to-moderate CD (Chron’s Disease) received either 10 traditional acupuncture treatments or 10 treatments using sham acupuncture over a 4 week period. True acupuncture led to a 35 percent decrease in the CD activity index while shame acupuncture resulted in a 18 percent decrease.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
- In 2015 the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies published a study involving 50 patients, which found that acupuncture twice a week for 4 weeks was more effective in improving carpal tunnel syndrome than 400 mg of ibuprofen taken three times a day for 10 days.
- In 2009 The Clinical Journal of Pain published a study in which 77 patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome received either 8 acupuncture sessions or daily steroid (prednisolone) treatments – both over a 4-week period. The acupuncture treatment was as effective as steroid treatments in reducing pain and numbness and more effective in reducing nocturnal awakening.
Depression during pregnancy
- In 2010 Obstetrics and Gynecology published a study in which 150 pregnant women experiencing major depressive disorder received either depression-specific acupuncture, control acupuncture or massage for 8 weeks. Women who received acupuncture designed to treat depression experienced greater benefits than either the control acupuncture or massage groups.
- In 2009 Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology published a meta-analysis of 7 high-quality clinical trials which tested the effectiveness of acupuncture on allergic rhinitis. While the results failed to demonstrate effectiveness for seasonal allergies, the data showed that acupuncture was useful in treating perennial allergic rhinitis.
Advanced cancer patients – improved quality of life
- In 2010 Integrative Cancer Therapies published a pilot study in which 32 advanced cancer patients received 12 acupuncture sessions over 8 weeks. Patients reported improvements in anxiety, fatigue, pain and depression, with continued benefits reported at the 12-week mark.
Improved male fertility
- In 2005 Fertility and Sterility published a study in which included 40 men with idiopathic oligospermia, asthenospermia, or teratozoospermia (conditions affecting sperm count, motility or quality). Twenty-eight of the men received acupuncture twice weekly for 5 weeks. Sperm samples from all 40 men were randomized and results showed that the acupuncture group saw significantly improved sperm quality compared to the control group.
Reduced chemotherapy-related side effects
- In 2014 the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention published a 45-patient study which showed that acupuncture administered the day prior, the day of, and the day after a chemotherapy treatment was able to reduce pain, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and anxiety.
- In 2017 the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study in which 1,445 patients with allergic asthma received 15 acupuncture sessions over a 3 month period or were assigned to routine care. At the end of treatment the acupuncture group had higher quality of life scores with benefits continuing through 6 months after the start of treatment.
In Vitro Fertilisation – improved pregnancy rates
- In 2008 BMJ published a meta-analysis including 7 trials and a total of 1366 women who received in vitro fertilization (IVF). The combined data showed that acupuncture give with embryo transfer improves pregnancy and live birth rates among women undergoing IVF.
- In 2009 Forsch Komplementmed published a study, including self-reported data from 229,230 patients, which showed that adverse effects from acupuncture were relatively low, with 2.2 percent of patients requiring treatment from an adverse effect. The most common adverse effect was bleeding.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ)
- In 2010 the Journal of Orofacial Pain published a review of 19 trials and concluded that moderate evidence exists supporting acupuncture as an effective treatment method for reducing symptoms associated with TMJ.
- In 2008 the British Journal of Anaesthesia published a review which analyzed 15 trials comparing acupuncture with sham acupuncture for the management of acute postoperative pain. Compared with sham acupuncture, genuine acupuncture administered post-operation reduced pain intensity as well as nausea, dizziness and sedation.
GERD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease)
- In 2007 Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics published a 4-week study which found that adding acupuncture to proton pump inhibitors (PPI) was more effective for controlling GERD than doubling the PPI dose in a group of 30 patients.
Shortness of breath (dyspnoea) in lung cancer patients
- In 2016 the European Journal of Cancer published a study of 173 patients with lung cancer or mesothelioma who had high shortness of breath scores. Acupuncture was as effective in improving reducing dyspnoea as morphine and relieved anxiety among patients.
Menopause-related sleep disturbances
- In 2016 Obstetrics and Gynecology published a review which included 31 randomized trials and a total of 2,433 patients. The combined data showed that acupuncture is associated with a significant reduction in sleep disturbances in women experiencing menopause.
- In 2015 the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a review of 24 studies in which acupuncture was used to treat a variety of skin conditions. In 17 of these studies acupuncture significantly improved skin conditions including dermatitis, pruritus, hyperhidrosis and melasma.
- In 2001 Hong Kong Medical Journal published a study in which 35 patients diagnosed with frozen shoulder were assigned to an exercise group or an exercise group with acupuncture. After 6 weeks the exercise group saw a 40 percent improvement and the exercise-with-acupuncture group experienced a 76 percent improvement.
- In 2004 The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences published a study which showed that five weeks of acupuncture was able to significantly reduce anxiety and improve total sleep time and sleep efficiency in 18 anxious adults with insomnia.