East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Acupuncture treatment can influence three areas of health care:

  • Promotion of general health and well-being
  • Prevention of illness
  • Treatment of various medical conditions

While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the sole treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatments in many disorders.


In this section we describe named medical conditions for which controlled clinical trials have shown acupuncture to be effective. References are included.

However, in considering the health benefits of acupuncture, one should be keep in mind that most of acupuncture's effects are holistic, and not narrowly focused on one particular diseased part of the body. Patients undergoing acupuncture often experience general changes in appetite, sleep, bowel or urination patterns, or emotional state. Most feel relaxed after treatment and report subjective feelings of "wholeness" or "connectedness." Furthermore, acupuncture is very successful in treating mild functional disorders for which conventional medicine does not even have fixed names:

"It is somehow assumed by most doctors, without having thought about it too deeply, that one is either healthy or ill. I think though that there are many patients who are somewhat between these extremes. These in-between patients may have virtually any symptoms but, as the disease process is not advanced enough to be shown on today's laboratory tests, they unfortunately are often labeled as neurotic... Acupuncture is a gentle form of treatment and hence suitable for [this kind of] disease."

-- Felix Mann, M.D.


In the West, many people who tend to think of acupuncture as a "new" or "unscientific" therapy are surprised to find out how much actual research has already validated this ancient art, both in China and the West. Indeed, to date acupuncture is probably the single most researched form of "alternative medicine." However, this only represents a fraction of the research that still needs to be done. One should keep in mind that randomized controlled trials (RCT's) are about 50 years old, while acupuncture has been used in China for at least 4500 years (see History section), and there has only been adequate funding sources for alternative medicine research since the 1990's.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of over 40 different medical problems. Here is the WHO list:

Digestive disorders:
Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and chemotherapy, Indigestion, Ulcer, Hyperacidity, Spastic colon, Constipation, Diarrhea

Respiratory disorders:
Sinusitis, Sore throat, Bronchitis, Asthma, Allergies, Emphysema, Recurrent chest infections

Neurological and psychological disorders:
Headache, Migraine, Insomnia, Dizziness, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Facial tics, Stroke, Paralysis, Neurogenic bladder dysfunction

Circulatory disorders:
Hypertension, Angina pectoris

Musculoskeletal Disorders:
Neck pain, Frozen shoulder, Tennis elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Low back pain, Sciatica, Osteoarthritis

Urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems:
Infertility, Menopausal symptoms, Premenstrual syndrome

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders:
Poor vision, Glaucoma, Cataracts, Toothache, Tinnitus

Nicotine, Alcohol, Drugs

(Source: World Health Organization, United Nations. "Viewpoint on Acupuncture." 1979)