QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Indications of Acupuncture
Studies show that there are tremendous variations among individuals in
response to acupuncture treatment. The rate of efficacy for different
conditions varies depending the skill and style of acupuncture practitioner.
Therefore, indications of acupuncture in traditional practice are very broad
and lack of consensus.
Followings are some recommendations for acupuncture therapy by World
Health Organization (WHO), National Institute of Health (NIH) and a review of
recent evidence-based studies. The lists will be further expanded as more
research report being published.
WHO Recommended Conditions for Acupuncture
1. Gastrointestinal: allergies, ulcer, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, GI
weakness, anorexia and gastritis.
2. Urogenital: stress incontinence, urinary tract infections, and sexual
3. Gynecological: irregular, heavy, painful menstruation, infertility, and PMS.
4. Respiratory: emphysema, sinusitis, asthma, allergies and bronchitis.
5. BJMN: arthritis, migraine, neuralgia, insomnia, dizziness and low back,
neck and shoulder pain.
6. Circulatory: hypertension, angina pectoris, arteriosclerosis and anemia.
7. Emotional and psychological: depression and anxiety.
8. Addictions: alcohol, nicotine and drugs.
9. Eye, ear, nose and throat disorders.
10. Supportive therapy for other chronic and painful debilitating disorders.
National Institute of Health Consensus Statement on Acupuncture
A. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of following conditions:
1. Postoperative nausea and vomiting.
2. Post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.
3. Postoperative dental pain.
B. Acupuncture is useful as adjunct, alternative or comprehensive
management for following conditions:
2. Stroke rehabilitation.
4. Menstrual cramps.
5. Tennis elbow.
7. Myofascial pain.
9. Low back pain.
10 Carpal tunnel syndrome.
[Acupuncture, NIH Consensus Statement 1997 Nov 3-5; 15(5):1-34]
Evidence-Based Acupuncture Based on Recent Publications
A. Pain Conditions
Good evidence: osteoarthritis, headache, and pain relief during labor.
Positive with reservation: fibromyalgia, dysmenorrhea, peripheral and
Inconclusive: low back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain.
B. Other Conditions
Good evidence: nausea/vomiting, acute dental pain, stroke rehabilitation,
breech version, shortening of labor duration, and menopausal hot flashes.
Positive with reservation: drug addiction, infertility, and depression.
Ineffective: weight loss and tobacco addiction.