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The information presented here on acupuncture (and all the other acupuncture pages here in this acupuncture chapter) are concerned with Traditional acupuncture (as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine). As an acupuncturist practitioner I hold registration with Acupuncture NZ, as a traditional acupuncturist, and as such can give 'stand alone' acupuncture treatments. All this material, on this acupuncture Introduction page (and all the acupuncture pages here) have no connection to osteopathy, or my registration as an osteopath.

Results from Acupuncture vary from person to person

It its important to realize that results with acupuncture (as with most medical interventions) will vary from one person to another. What works for one person having acupuncture treatment, and may prove to be effective, may be less effective, or not work at all for another person. So even if one is seeking acupuncture treatment for one of the conditions mentioned here, and there appears to be good evidence base for the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat that condition — then always remember — results vary from one person to another. By all means try acupuncture treatment, and see if it works for you. Remember also that in traditional acupuncture we treat the person, not the illness.

Research and Evidence base about what Acupuncture Treats

The Acupuncture Evidence project: A Comparative Literature Review was published in February 2017.

This report (1.5) gives Acupuncture recommendations in clinical practice guidelines, stating that:
''In Australia, acupuncture has been included in clinical practice guidelines for various types of acute pain including post-operative pain, and for rotator cuff syndrome (33, 34). In ‘Acute Pain Management: Scientific Evidence’ published by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and Faculty of Pain Medicine in 2015, NHMRC Level I evidence was identified from Cochrane reviews for acupuncture for labour pain, oocyte retrieval pain, primary dysmenorrhoea, tension-type headaches and migraine, and from PRISMA reviews for postoperative pain, back pain and acute burns pain (33).''

The Acupuncture Evidence project: A Comparative Literature Review (2017) then goes on to list conditions that may be helped with acupuncture (section 2: conditions now rated as evidence of positive effect) and this list includes: migraine prophylaxis, headache (chronic tension-type and chronic episodic) and Low back pain.

Acupuncture is frequently used to treat painful conditions. One study in 2015 (Alexander Technique lessons or Acupuncture sessions for persons with chronic neck pain: a randomized controlled trail) found Acupuncture beneficial for neck pain.

Prior to the Acupuncture Evidence project: A Comparative Literature Review (2017), one of the earliest comprehensive reports about acupuncture, and what acupuncture treats was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003.  This report referred to results of 255 clinical trials (published before 1998, or beginning 1999) researching the effectiveness of acupuncture.  More than one hundred indications for the use of acupuncture were discussed.  To read more on this please see Evidenced based acupuncture.

Some of the conditions mentioned in the WHO (2003) report on the use of acupuncture include: low back pain, sciatica, knee pain, neck pain, facial pain, headache, fibromyalgia, insomnia, tennis elbow.

However it is only fair to say that although the report above is the only official WHO opinion about the effectiveness of acupuncture, it included findings from many Chinese trials which were not evaluated as highly reliable. For this reason, the 2003 WHO report, and acupuncture itself has been criticized by many scholars.  However since this 2003 WHO report was published there has been far more research in the use of acupuncture, and a great many well-designed, randomized controlled clinical trials using acupuncture have been published. During the last fifteen years the results of many randomized controlled trials have been published, as well as meta-analyses of the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of various diseases.  The existing level of evidence for acupuncture effectiveness is much higher than it was in 1999.  Please see the Acupuncture Evidence project (2017) above.

You might also like to visit these pages of the British Acupuncture Council where they give an extensive list of conditions that may be treated with acupuncture, citing numerous research references for each condition listed. For this, please see British Acupuncture Council - Research Fact Sheets. (The British Acupuncture Council website would also very helpful if you, or anyone you know wants to find an acupuncturist in the UK).

Traditional acupuncture works by treating the person not the illness.  Acupuncture works by not just by treating the symptoms, but by addressing the underlying imbalances of energy that predispose to certain illnesses. 

Suggested Resources:



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