• A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment 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]
    • Acupuncture can reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting after surgery, with minimal side effects.[5]
    • In a prospective study involving 229,230 patients, acupuncture was found to be a relatively safe treatment with a low risk of serious side effects.[6]
    • The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend acupuncture as a second-line therapy for chronic low back pain.[7]
    • The American College of Chest Physicians recommends acupuncture for cancer patients when pain, nausea, vomiting, or other side effects of chemotherapy are poorly controlled.[8]
    • The Joint Commission includes acupuncture as one of the non-pharmacological strategies that has a role in pain management in hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient care.[9]


[1] Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway M, et al. Evidence Map of Acupuncgture. 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] Lee A, Fan LTY. Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003281. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003281.pub3 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD003281/ANAESTH_p6-acupoint-stimulation-prevents-postoperative-nausea-and-vomiting-with-few-side-effects#sthash.rdBx95G6.dpuf

[6] Witt CM, Pach D, Brinkhaus B, Wruck K, Tag B, Mank S, Willich SN. 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.

[7] 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.

[8] 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.

[9] The Joint Commission.  Revisions to pain management standard effective January 1, 2015. Joint Commission Online. November 12, 2014. http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/23/jconline_November_12_14.pdf