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Benefits of Acupuncture

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Acupuncture has been tried and tested over thousands of years in China and other East Asian countries, where it features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional Western Medicine. Acupuncture is now widely used and accepted all over the world.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence now includes Acupuncture in the following guidelines:

  • The management of all chronic pain. A course of 5 acupuncture treatments is recommended.

  • Diagnosis and management of headaches.

The World Health Organisation acknowledges that acupuncture effectiveness “has been established in controlled clinical studies” and works better than placebo most of the time. They have found that “for chronic pain acupuncture effectiveness is comparable with that of morphine”. Acupuncture does not have the side effects that many people experience with morphine, and can in fact help with side effects of morphine such as constipation.

The Acupuncture Evidence Project: Research into the benefits of acupuncture as a medical treatment has grown exponentially in the past 20 years. A wide variety of clinical area have been studied, including pain, inflammation, cancer, stroke, mood disorders and sleep disorders. The entire literature was summarized in 2017 by The Acupuncture Evidence Project. They found strong evidence for the benefits of acupuncture for

  • Allergic rhinitis

  • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics)

  • Chronic low back pain

  • Headache (tension type and chronic)

  • Knee osteoarthritis

  • Migraine prevention

  • Post-operative nausea and vomiting

  • Post-operative pain

There is also evidence for

  • Acute low back pain

  • Acute stroke 

  • Anxiety 

  • Asthma 

  • Cancer pain 

  • Cancer related fatigue

  • Chronic pelvic pain 

  • Constipation 

  • Depression 

  • Hypertension (with medication) 

  • Insomnia 

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • ​Labour pain

  • Lateral elbow pain

  • Menopausal hot flushes

  • Neck pain

  • Obesity

  • Plantar heel pain

  • Post-stroke spasticity

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Sciatica

  • Shoulder pain

  • smoking cessation

  • Stroke Rehabilitation

  • Temporomandibular pain

Cancer research UK state that there is no evidence that acupuncture can help treat or cure cancer, but it can help relieve some cancer symptoms and side effects from treatment.


Research into acupuncture for cancer focuses on treating:

  • Chemotherapy and related sickness

  • Tiredness

  • Pain

  • Anxiety and stress

  • Depression and mood changes

  • Quality of life

  • Hot flushes



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