What conditions can Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treat?

The following are some of the conditions with strong or moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of Acupuncture.

Conditions with strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture

Reviews with consistent statistically significant positive effects and where authors have recommended the intervention. The quality of evidence is rated as moderate or high quality.

  • Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal)
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics)
  • Migraine prophylaxis
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Postoperative nausea & vomiting
  • Headache (tension type and chronic)
  • Postoperative pain

Conditions with moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture

Reviews reporting all individual RCTs or pooled effects across RCTs as positive, but the reviewers deeming the evidence insufficient to draw firm conclusions. The quality of evidence is rated as moderate or high quality.

  • Acute low back pain
  • Acute stroke
  • Ambulatory anaesthesia
  • Anxiety
  • Aromatase inhibitor induced arthralgia
  • Asthma in adults
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy
  • Cancer pain
  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Craniotomy anaesthesia
  • Depression (with antidepressants)
  • Dry eye
  • Hypertension (with medication)
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Labour pain
  • Lateral elbow pain
  • Menopausal hot flushes
  • Modulating sensory perception thresholds
  • Neck pain
  • Obesity
  • Perimenopausal & postmenopausal insomnia
  • Plantar heel pain
  • Post-stroke insomnia
  • Post stroke shoulder pain
  • Post-stroke spasticity
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Prostatitis pain/chronic pelvic pain syndrome
  • Recovery after colorectal cancer resection
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Schizophrenia (with antipsychotics)
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome (early stage) (with exercise)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Smoking cessation (up to 3 months)
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Temporomandibular pain

References:

The Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017)

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