Acupuncture is Effective

  • A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment of chronic pain, migraine and tension headache. The same study found a potentially positive effect in dysmenorrhea, cancer pain, labor pain, insomnia, post-operative nausea and vomit, depression, and smoking cessation. [1]
  • Acupuncture outperforms placebo in relieving the most common types of chronic pain: headache, low back, neck, shoulder and knee pain. [2]
  • Acupuncture significantly outperforms standard care in headache, low back, neck, and knee pain.[3]
  • Acupuncture is superior to most forms of physical therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.[4]
  • Systematic reviews published by the Cochrane Collaboration found acupuncture  to  be effective for nausea caused by chemotherapy and surgery. [5]
  • The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend acupuncture as a second-line therapy for chronic low back pain.[6]
  • The American College of Chest Physicians recommends acupuncture for cancer patients when pain, nausea, vomiting, or other side effects of chemotherapy are poorly controlled.[7]

 Acupuncture is Safe

  • A prospective study of 2.2 million acupuncture treatments found that serious adverse events were rare.[8]

Acupuncture Is Popular

  • The Number of Acupuncture Visits Per 1,000 Adults Nearly Tripled Between 1997 and 2007[9]
  • The Percentage of Americans Who Have Ever Used Acupuncture Increased by 33% and those who received acupuncture  in the in the last year increased 21% Between 2002 and 2007. [10]
  • 53% of recent users reported that a medical doctor was the resource from whom they were informed about acupuncture.[11]

Acupuncture is Cost-Effective 

  • According to international cost-effectiveness threshold values, acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment strategy for patients with chronic neck pain,[12] headache,[13] and asthma.[14]

Acupuncture Is  Increasingly Covered by Insurance

  • As of 2004, 47% of private insurance plans included acupuncture coverage.[15]
  • Fifty-four million Americans have acupuncture coverage as an essential benefit under the Affordable Care Act. [16]

[1] Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway M, et al. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. VAE-ESP Project #05-226; 2013.

[2] Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Mascino AC, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Sep 10:1-10.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Corbett MS, Rice SJC, Madurasinghe, et al. Acupuncture and Other Physical Treatments for the Relief of Pain Due to Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Network Meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.

[5]Ezzo J, Streitberger K, Schneider A. Cochrane systematic reviews examine P6 acupuncture-point stimulation for nausea and vomiting. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jun;12(5):489-95.

[6] Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147 (7): 478-491.

[7] Cassileth BR, Deng GE, Gomez JE, Johnstone PA, Kumar N, Vickers AJ; American College of Chest Physicians. Complementary therapies and integrative oncology in lung cancer: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd edition). Chest. 2007 Sep;132(3 Suppl):340S-354S.

[8] Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, et al. Safety of acupuncture: results of a prospective observational study with 229,230 patients and introduction of a medical information and consent form. Forsch Komplementmed. 2009 Apr;16(2):91-7.

[9] Zhang Y, Lao L, Chen H, Ceballos R. Acupuncture Use among American Adults: What Acupuncture Practitioners Can Learn from National Health Interview Survey 2007? Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. Feb 2012;2012:710750

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Willich SN, Reinhold T, Selim D, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Witt CM. Cost-effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with chronic neck pain. Pain. 2006 Nov;125(1-2):107-13. Epub 2006 Jul 13.

[13] Wonderling D, Vickers AJ, Grieve R, McCarney R. Cost effectiveness analysis of a randomised trial of acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care.BMJ. 2004 Mar 27;328(7442):747. Epub 2004 Mar 15.

[14] Reinhold T, Brinkhaus B, Willich SN, Witt C. Acupuncture in patients suffering from allergic asthma: is it worth additional costs? J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Mar;20(3):169-77. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0719. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

[15] Claxton G, Isadora G, Finder B, et al. Employee Health Benefits: 2004 Annual Survey. The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust.

[16] Fan AY. “Obamacare” covers fifty-four million Americans for acupuncture as Essential Healthcare Benefit. J

Integr Med. 2014; 12(4): 390-393.