What Does Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture is effective for:

Several studies have used functional MRI scans to investigate the effect of acupuncture on the fear/anxiety centres of the brain. A study by Hui et al. reported that needling specific acupuncture points (LI 4 & ST 36) sends deactivating signals to the amygdala, hippocampus, and other brain regions associated with fear and pain. 1 2 Another fMRI study by Fang et al. looked at the effect of needling LR 3, LR 2 & ST 44, and found acupuncture can bring about ‘‘extensive deactivation of the limbic–paralimbic–neocortical system.’’ 3 These studies show that brain regions responsible for heightened affect, anxiety, and the fight or flight (sympathetic) response can be regulated by acupuncture. Other effects of acupuncture have included the production of endogenous opioids, an increased production of serotonin, reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, and pain modulation. 4 5 6 7

Systematic reviews for Anxiety: 8 9 10 11 12 13

Research: Cao, H., Pan, X., Li, H., & Liu, J. (2009). Acupuncture for treatment of insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 15(11), 1171-1186.

Chen, H. Y., Shi, Y., Ng, C. S., Chan, S. M., Yung, K. K. L., & Zhang, Q. L. (2007). Auricular acupuncture treatment for insomnia: a systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 13(6), 669-676.

Sok, S. R., Erlen, J. A., & Kim, K. B. (2003). Effects of acupuncture therapy on insomnia. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 44(4), 375-384.

Spence, D. W., Kayumov, L., Chen, A., Lowe, A., Jain, U., Katzman, M. A., … & Shapiro, C. M. (2004). Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 16(1), 19-28.

Headache:

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Manheimer, E., Vickers, A., & White, A. R. (2009). Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 1(1).

Sun, Y., & Gan, T. J. (2008). Acupuncture for the management of chronic headache: a systematic review. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 107(6), 2038-2047.

Zhao, L., Guo, Y., Wang, W., & Yan, L. J. (2011). Systematic review on randomized controlled clinical trials of acupuncture therapy for neurovascular headache. Chinese journal of integrative medicine, 17(8), 580-586.

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Shin, B. C., … & White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of tension‐type headache. The Cochrane Library.

Witt, C. M., Reinhold, T., Jena, S., Brinkhaus, B., & Willich, S. N. (2008). Cost‐effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in patients with headache. Cephalalgia, 28(4), 334-345.

Migraine:

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Manheimer, E., Vickers, A., & White, A. R. (2009). Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 1(1).

Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Vertosick, E. A., … & White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. The Cochrane Library.

Yang, J., Zeng, F., Feng, Y., Fang, L., Qin, W., Liu, X., … & Liang, F. (2012). A PET-CT study on the specificity of acupoints through acupuncture treatment in migraine patients. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 12(1), 123.[/note]

Lower back pain 

Mu, J. L., Furlan, A. D., Lam, W. Y., Hsu, M. Y., NING, Z., & Lao, L. (2017). Acupuncture for chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. In The 16th Meeting of Consortium for Globalization of Chinese Medicine. The 16th CGCM conference..

Lee, J. H., Choi, T. Y., Lee, M. S., Lee, H., Shin, B. C., & Lee, H. (2013). Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review. The Clinical journal of pain, 29(2), 172-185.

Liu, L., Skinner, M., McDonough, S., Mabire, L., & Baxter, G. D. (2015). Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015.

Yeganeh, M., Baradaran, H. R., Qorbani, M., Moradi, Y., & Dastgiri, S. (2017). The effectiveness of acupuncture, acupressure and chiropractic interventions on treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain in Iran: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 27, 11-18.

Neck 

Yuan, Q. L., Guo, T. M., Liu, L., Sun, F., & Zhang, Y. G. (2015). Traditional Chinese medicine for neck pain and low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 10(2), e0117146.

Ho, L. F., Lin, Z. X., Leung, A. W. N., Chen, L., Zhang, H., Ng, B. F. L., … & Guo, Y. (2017). Efficacy of abdominal acupuncture for neck pain: A randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 12(7), e0181360.

Wilke, J., Vogt, L., Niederer, D., Hübscher, M., Rothmayr, J., Ivkovic, D., … & Banzer, W. (2014). Short-term effects of acupuncture and stretching on myofascial trigger point pain of the neck: a blinded, placebo-controlled RCT. Complementary therapies in medicine, 22(5), 835-841.

Shoulder 

Lee, J. A., Park, S. W., Hwang, P. W., Lim, S. M., Kook, S., Choi, K. I., & Kang, K. S. (2012). Acupuncture for shoulder pain after stroke: a systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(9), 818-823.

Zhang, H., Sun, J., Wang, C., Yu, C., Wang, W., Zhang, M., … & Wan, Y. (2016). Randomised controlled trial of contralateral manual acupuncture for the relief of chronic shoulder pain. Acupuncture in Medicine, 34(3), 164-170.

Chi, L. M., Lin, L. M., Chen, C. L., Wang, S. F., Lai, H. L., & Peng, T. C. (2016). The effectiveness of cupping therapy on relieving chronic neck and shoulder pain: a randomized controlled trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016.

Knee pain 

White, A., Foster, N. E., Cummings, M., & Barlas, P. (2007). Acupuncture treatment for chronic knee pain: a systematic review. Rheumatology, 46(3), 384-390.

Bjordal, J. M., Johnson, M. I., Lopes-Martins, R. A., Bogen, B., Chow, R., & Ljunggren, A. E. (2007). Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 8(1), 51.

Elbow pain 

Trinh, K. V., Phillips, S. D., Ho, E., & Damsma, K. (2004). Acupuncture for the alleviation of lateral epicondyle pain: a systematic review. Rheumatology, 43(9), 1085-1090.

Gadau, M., Yeung, W. F., Liu, H., Zaslawski, C., Tan, Y. S., Wang, F. C., … & Zhang, S. P. (2014). Acupuncture and moxibustion for lateral elbow pain: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 14(1), 136.

Molsberger, A., & Hille, E. (1994). The analgesic effect of acupuncture in chronic tennis elbow pain. Rheumatology, 33(12), 1162-1165.

Wrist Pain 

Yang, C. P., Hsieh, C. L., Wang, N. H., Li, T. C., Hwang, K. L., Yu, S. C., & Chang, M. H. (2009). Acupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. The Clinical journal of pain, 25(4), 327-333.

Sim, H., Shin, B. C., Lee, M. S., Jung, A., Lee, H., & Ernst, E. (2011). Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Pain, 12(3), 307-314.

Napadow, V., Kettner, N., Liu, J., Li, M., Kwong, K. K., Vangel, M., … & Hui, K. K. S. (2007). Hypothalamus and amygdala response to acupuncture stimuli in carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain, 130(3), 254-266.

Ankle/heel pain 

Clark, R. J., & Tighe, M. (2012). The effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain: a systematic review. Acupuncture in Medicine, 30(4), 298-306.

Kumnerddee, W., & Pattapong, N. (2012). Efficacy of electro-acupuncture in chronic plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 40(06), 1167-1176.

Zhang, S. P., Yip, T. P., & Li, Q. S. (2011). Acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial with six months follow-up. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011.

Chen, N., Wang, J., Mucelli, A., Zhang, X., & Wang, C. (2017). Electro-Acupuncture is Beneficial for Knee Osteoarthritis: The Evidence from Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 45(05), 965-985.

Manyanga, T., Froese, M., Zarychanski, R., Abou-Setta, A., Friesen, C., Tennenhouse, M., & Shay, B. L. (2014). Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 14(1), 312.

Lin, X., Huang, K., Zhu, G., Huang, Z., Qin, A., & Fan, S. (2016). The effects of acupuncture on chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis. JBJS, 98(18), 1578-1585.

Corbett, M. S., Rice, S. J. C., Madurasinghe, V., Slack, R., Fayter, D. A., Harden, M., … & Woolacott, N. F. (2013). Acupuncture and other physical treatments for the relief of pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: network meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis and cartilage, 21(9), 1290-1298.

Yang, C. P., Hsieh, C. L., Wang, N. H., Li, T. C., Hwang, K. L., Yu, S. C., & Chang, M. H. (2009). Acupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. The Clinical journal of pain, 25(4), 327-333.

Sim, H., Shin, B. C., Lee, M. S., Jung, A., Lee, H., & Ernst, E. (2011). Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Pain, 12(3), 307-314.

Napadow, V., Kettner, N., Liu, J., Li, M., Kwong, K. K., Vangel, M., … & Hui, K. K. S. (2007). Hypothalamus and amygdala response to acupuncture stimuli in carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain, 130(3), 254-266.

Wu, M. S., Chen, K. H., Chen, I. F., Huang, S. K., Tzeng, P. C., Yeh, M. L., … & Chen, C. (2016). The efficacy of acupuncture in post-operative pain management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 11(3), e0150367.

 

Fan, A. Y., Miller, D. W., Bolash, B., Bauer, M., McDonald, J., Faggert, S., … & Koppelman, M. H. (2017). Acupuncture’s Role in Solving the Opioid Epidemic: Evidence, Cost-Effectiveness, and Care Availability for Acupuncture as a Primary, Non-Pharmacologic Method for Pain Relief and Management—White Paper 2017.

 

Shin, H. C., Kim, J. S., Lee, S. K., Kwon, S. H., Kim, M. S., Lee, E. J., & Yoon, Y. J. (2016). The effect of acupuncture on postoperative nausea and vomiting after pediatric tonsillectomy: A meta‐analysis and systematic review. The Laryngoscope, 126(8), 1761-1767.

 

An, L. X., Chen, X., Ren, X. J., & Wu, H. F. (2014). Electro-acupuncture decreases postoperative pain and improves recovery in patients undergoing a supratentorial craniotomy. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 42(05), 1099-1109.

Fernandes, A. C. B. D. C., Moura, D. M. D., Da Silva, L. G. D., De Almeida, E. O., & Barbosa, G. A. S. (2017). Acupuncture in Temporomandibular Disorder Myofascial Pain Treatment: A Systematic Review. Journal of Oral & Facial Pain & Headache, 31(3).

Wu, J. Y., Zhang, C., Xu, Y. P., Yu, Y. Y., Peng, L., Leng, W. D., … & Deng, M. H. (2017). Acupuncture therapy in the management of the clinical outcomes for temporomandibular disorders: A PRISMA-compliant meta-analysis. Medicine, 96(9).

Shin, H. C., Kim, J. S., Lee, S. K., Kwon, S. H., Kim, M. S., Lee, E. J., & Yoon, Y. J. (2016). The effect of acupuncture on postoperative nausea and vomiting after pediatric tonsillectomy: A meta‐analysis and systematic review. The Laryngoscope, 126(8), 1761-1767.

Lee, A., & Fan, L. T. (2009). Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2.

Lee, J., Dodd, M., Dibble, S., & Abrams, D. (2008). Review of acupressure studies for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting control. Journal of pain and symptom management, 36(5), 529-544.

Feng, S., Han, M., Fan, Y., Yang, G., Liao, Z., Liao, W., & Li, H. (2015). Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American journal of rhinology & allergy, 29(1), 57-62.

Taw, M. B., Reddy, W. D., Omole, F. S., & Seidman, M. D. (2015). Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery, 23(3), 216-220.

McDonald, J. L., Cripps, A. W., Smith, P. K., Smith, C. A., Xue, C. C., & Golianu, B. (2013). The anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture and their relevance to allergic rhinitis: a narrative review and proposed model. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.

Li, P., Tjen-A-Looi, S. C., Cheng, L., Liu, D., Painovich, J., Vinjamury, S., & Longhurst, J. C. (2015). CME Article: Long-Lasting Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electroacupuncture in Patients with Hypertension: Randomized Controlled Trial. Medical acupuncture, 27(4), 253-266.

Li, D. Z., Zhou, Y., Yang, Y. N., Ma, Y. T., Li, X. M., Yu, J., … & Lao, L. (2014). Acupuncture for essential hypertension: a meta-analysis of randomized sham-controlled clinical trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014.

Tjen-A-Looi, S. C. (2017). Reduction of Blood Pressure by Electro Acupuncture in Mild to Moderate Hypertensive Patients: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Intensive and Critical Care, 3(1), 2.

Chao, G. Q., & Zhang, S. (2014). Effectiveness of acupuncture to treat irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis. World Journal of Gastroenterology: WJG, 20(7), 1871.

Manheimer, E., Wieland, L. S., Cheng, K., Li, S. M., Shen, X., Berman, B. M., & Lao, L. (2012). Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of gastroenterology, 107(6), 835-847.

Reynolds, J. A., Bland, J. M., & MacPherson, H. (2008). Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome–an exploratory randomised controlled trial. Acupuncture in medicine, 26(1), 8-16.

LI, B., SHI, L., DU, Y., Xiong, J., & Chai, H. (2009). Systematic Review on Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture Therapy for Chronic Urticaria [J]. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 5, 021.

Ma, C., & Sivamani, R. K. (2015). Acupuncture as a treatment modality in dermatology: a systematic review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(9), 520-529.

Yao, Q., Li, S., Liu, X., Qin, Z., & Liu, Z. (2016). The effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for patients with chronic urticaria: a systematic review. BioMed research international, 2016.

Takahashi, T. (2011). Mechanism of acupuncture on neuromodulation in the gut—a review. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 14(1), 8-12.

Zhou, S., Zeng, F., Liu, J., Zheng, H., Huang, W., Liu, T., … & Li, Y. (2013). Influence of acupuncture stimulation on cerebral network in functional diarrhea. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.

Park, J. W., Lee, B. H., & Lee, H. (2013). Moxibustion in the management of irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 13(1), 247.

Baker, T. E., & Chang, G. (2016). The use of auricular acupuncture in opioid use disorder: A systematic literature review. The American journal on addictions.

Kailasam, V. K., Anand, P., & Melyan, Z. (2016). Establishing an animal model for National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) auricular acupuncture protocol. Neuroscience letters, 624, 29-33.

Lower back pain 

Yao, X., Li, C., Ge, X., Wei, J., Luo, J., Li, F., & Tian, F. (2017). Effect of acupuncture on pregnancy related low back pain and pelvic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Clin Exp Med, 10(4), 5903-5912.

Ee, C. C., Manheimer, E., Pirotta, M. V., & White, A. R. (2008). Acupuncture for pelvic and back pain in pregnancy: a systematic review. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 198(3), 254-259.

Breech presentation 

Li, X., Hu, J., Wang, X., Zhang, H., & Liu, J. (2009). Moxibustion and other acupuncture point stimulation methods to treat breech presentation: a systematic review of clinical trials. Chinese medicine, 4(1), 4.

Depression 

Manber, R., Schnyer, R. N., Lyell, D., Chambers, A. S., Caughey, A. B., Druzin, M., … & Kalista, T. (2010). Acupuncture for depression during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 115(3), 511-520.

da Silva, J. B. G. (2007). Acupuncture for mild to moderate emotional complaints in pregnancy–a prospective, quasi-randomised, controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine, 25(3), 65-71.

Dyspepsia 

da Silva, J. B. G., Nakamura, M. U., Cordeiro, J. A., Kulay, L., & Saidah, R. (2009). Acupuncture for dyspepsia in pregnancy: a prospective, randomised, controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine, 27(2), 50-53.

Ma, T., Zeng, F., Li, Y., Wang, C. M., Tian, X., Yu, S., … & Liang, F. (2015). Which subtype of functional dyspepsia patients responses better to acupuncture? A retrospective analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Complementary Medicine Research, 22(2), 94-100.

Dysmenorrhoea

Cho, S. H., & Hwang, E. W. (2010). Acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea: a systematic review. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 117(5), 509-521.

Smith, C. A., Zhu, X., He, L., & Song, J. (2011). Acupuncture for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 1.

PCOS

Qu, F., Wu, Y., Hu, X. Y., Barry, J. A., Zhou, J., Wang, F. F., … & Li, R. (2016). The effects of acupuncture on polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 8(1), 12-18.

Ma, H., Quan, X., Li, J., Wang, B., & Chen, X. (2014, May). Acupuncture for polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In Electronics, Computer and Applications, 2014 IEEE Workshop on (pp. 800-804). IEEE.

Endometriosis

Herbs

Flower, A., Liu, J. P., Chen, S., Lewith, G., & Little, P. (2009). Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 3, 28.

Amenorrhoea 

Cai, C. (2013). Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment of amenorrhea. Medical Acupuncture, 25(3), 205-208.

Qian, Y., Xia, X. R., Ochin, H., Huang, C., Gao, C., Gao, L., … & Meng, Y. (2017). Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of gynecology and obstetrics, 1-16.

Grant, L. E., & Cochrane, S. (2014). Acupuncture for the mental and emotional health of women undergoing IVF treatment: a comprehensive review. Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, 9(1), 5.

Shen, C., Wu, M., Shu, D., Zhao, X., & Gao, Y. (2015). The role of acupuncture in in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gynecologic and obstetric investigation, 79(1), 1-12.

Zheng, C. H., Huang, G. Y., Zhang, M. M., & Wang, W. (2012). Effects of acupuncture on pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fertility and sterility, 97(3), 599-611.

Manheimer, E., Zhang, G., Udoff, L., Haramati, A., Langenberg, P., Berman, B. M., & Bouter, L. M. (2008). Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj, 336(7643), 545-549.

Jo, J., & Lee, Y. J. (2017). Effectiveness of acupuncture in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome undergoing in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupuncture in Medicine, acupmed-2016.

Fertility

Cochrane, S., Smith, C. A., Possamai-Inesedy, A., & Bensoussan, A. (2014). Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health. International journal of women’s health, 6, 313.

Herbal medicine

Ried, K., & Stuart, K. (2011). Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review. Complementary therapies in medicine, 19(6), 319-331.

Scheewe, S., Vogt, L., Minakawa, S., Eichmann, D., Welle, S., Stachow, R., & Banzer, W. (2011). Acupuncture in children and adolescents with bronchial asthma: a randomised controlled study. Complementary therapies in medicine, 19(5), 239-246.

Mehl-Madrona, L., Kligler, B., Silverman, S., Lynton, H., & Merrell, W. (2007). The impact of acupuncture and craniosacral therapy interventions on clinical outcomes in adults with asthma. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3(1), 28-36.

Chu, K. A., Wu, Y. C., Ting, Y. M., Wang, H. C., & Lu, J. Y. (2007). Acupuncture therapy results in immediate bronchodilating effect in asthma patients. Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, 70(7), 265-268.

Sui, Y., Zhao, H. L., Wong, V. C. W., Brown, N., Li, X. L., Kwan, A. K. L., … & Chan, J. C. N. (2012). A systematic review on use of Chinese medicine and acupuncture for treatment of obesity. obesity reviews, 13(5), 409-430.

Cho, S. H., Lee, J. S., Thabane, L., & Lee, J. (2009). Acupuncture for obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity, 33(2), 183-196.

Güçel, F., Bahar, B., Demirtas, C., Mit, S., & Çevik, C. (2012). Influence of acupuncture on leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cholecystokinin in obese women: a randomised, sham-controlled preliminary trial. Acupuncture in Medicine, 30(3), 203-207.

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