The NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture

In 1997 the U.S. National Institutes of Health published a Consensus Statement on the use and effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions.

Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. While there have been many studies of its potential usefulness, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebos and sham acupuncture groups. However, promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in post-operative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofacial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma where acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.1

The World Health Organization

In the hands of a well-trained practitioner, acupuncture has much broader applications beyond pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses including:2

The World Health Organization Interregional Seminar compiled the above list of illnesses that may benefit from acupuncture treatment. The list is only a partial list and is based on clinical experience, and not necessarily on controlled clinical research. The inclusion of specific diseases are not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture's efficacy in treatment, since all conditions may vary in severity and response.

1. NIH, Acupuncture, Nov. 3-5, 1997, Vol. 15, No. 5, View the full Consensus.
2. World Health Organization. Viewpoint on Acupuncture. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1979.