Are there scientific evidences to show that acupuncture works?


Are there scientific evidences to show that acupuncture works?

Yes. There are tons of researches that show acupuncture works. But there are also numerous "researches" that show acupuncture is barely better than placebo. The problem is what the research calls "acupuncture" often was conducted in a textbook-based methodology. The text-book acupunture used worldwide now was originally standardized in 50' of 19 century by traditional Chinese medicine scholars. It was the most basics for the traditional Chinese students to use as a text book, but an experienced acupuncturist would usually not rely on it too much.

If you look at the scientific publications, you're going to see three different kinds of results:

  1. Acupuncture is barely better than placebo acupuncture. Usually the difference is not statistically significant, and the sample size is large.
  2. Acupuncture works for a small set of cases. It's statistically better than placebo, but not really effective. Maybe 15 -40% of people see some results.
  3. Acupuncture has good results for a specific problem. Most people see a benefit.

The problem is in the research design. For #1 - being barely better than placebo, you'll usually see medical doctors look through a set of text-book points and choose the points indicated for back pain, or whatever is being studied. Just needle all the back pain points and it should fix the problem, right?  The problem is these treatments have no basis in reality.  Experienced acupuncturist would not do like this.

For #2 - somewhat effective, you may find the research used a standard protocol that usually works only 50-60% effective, but was not customized to each individial patient.

For #3, best results, you'll see that the study involves an intake, diagnosis and treatment. Instead of treating the symptoms, the acupuncturist examines the patients and asks questions to find the underlying pathology and treats that. For example, there are multiple causes of migraines, even if the symptoms are the same.

The custom treatments found in these types of study are rare because of time and cost constraints. It takes time, and therefore costs more money to do this kind of study.

You may like to verify for yourself: Go to , and enter "acupuncture" + the condition you are interested in. You will find many scientific research.

Click through to read the study's methods (which is usually found soon after the introduction of the paper) and see if the research method includes using diagnosis before treatment. If they are using a proper diagnosis, then it's very likely to be a valid study of the kind of treatment you're likely to get from an acupuncturist. If it doesn't show good results, it's probably still valid - acupuncture doesn't treat everything. Unfortunately less than 10-20% of studies take this approach.

Apart from looking up valid studies, consider this: There are a lot of studies that show acupuncture is effective on animals. Animals have no concept of medicine, so they're not vulnerable to the placebo effect. This is especially common for dogs with genetic problems. Great Danes are treated for seizures. German shepherds are treated for hip dysplasia. Labs get arthritis.
I hope this gives you enough information to make up your own mind about acupuncture's effectiveness. It doesn't treat everything. However it can be extremely effective, especially for pain. It also often treats problems that pills just can't fix.