Definition of Acupuncture

Acupuncture: Technique for treating some painful conditions and for regional anesthesia by passing long thin needles through the skin to specific points. Needles of various shapes are inserted into the skin with the purported aim of stimulating acupoints, which supposedly enable direct influence of the flow of Qi (chi). Practitioners may be called “acupuncturists” or “acupuncture therapists.” Most forms of acupuncture are unnaturalistic… Read more

Explore Acupuncture research in the following databases: 

PubMed  Trip  Cochrane*
*The Cochrane database requires users to enter the search term manually. Enter “acupuncture”

Research Spotlight

The databases often return hundreds of medical studies for a single wellness approach. This section summarizes a sampling of five studies – providing just a taste of the available research. 

  • Acupuncture, Yoga, Massage & Tai Chi Show Promise for Pain Management
    A 2016 review of clinical trials (1966-2016), conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, shows that a variety of complementary approaches, including acupuncture, yoga, massage, tai chi and meditation – and selected natural product supplements – hold promise for managing various types of pain. Acupuncture and yoga showed strongest evidence for back pain; acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee; massage therapy for neck pain—with adequate doses; and relaxation techniques for severe headaches/migraine. 
    Access this study on acupuncture
  • Acupuncture During Surgery Reduces Pain Post-Operatively
    A Stanford University School of Medicine (2015) randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial showed that the use of acupuncture during surgery significantly reduced pain and improved restoration of a normal diet after operations on children. The researchers concluded that intraoperative acupuncture is feasible, well tolerated, and results in improved pain control and earlier return of diet postoperatively. 
    Access this Acupuncture study on Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture Can Help Treat Inflammatory Diseases
    A Rutgers University Medical School study (2014, performed on mice) indicated that electro-acupuncture shows interesting promise for treating inflammatory diseases like sepsis (the major cause of death in hospitals), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and Crohn’s disease. 
    Access this research on Acupuncture
  • Tension Headache Relief with Acupuncture
    An updated Cochrane review (2009, 11 trials, 2,317 participants) concludes that acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches. 
    Access this research on Acupuncture
  • Limited Evidence for Improved IVF Success Rates
    In an overview of the research, some, but limited evidence, suggests acupuncture improves the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). 
    Access this research on Acupuncture

Read more study snapshots

Studies-in-Progress/Clinical Trials Underway

A clinical trial is any research study that assigns people to health-related interventions to evaluate the outcomes. “Interventions” include drugs, surgical procedures, devices, behavioral treatments, preventive care, etc.

Access all studies currently available for Acupuncture in these databases:

PubMed  Trip  Cochrane*
*The Cochrane database requires users to enter the search term manually. Enter “acupuncture”