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To put a bit of validity and science behind all of the lofty claims of my TCM teachers that I’ve reposted here and my too resounding (as some suggested) endorsement of acupuncture/TCM, here is the global expert’s opinion.

The World Health Organization (UN-WHO) prepared the following list of diseases, conditions, symptoms, and/or disorders that are improved with acupuncture. The list is based on their reviews of controlled trials posted in recent medical literature.  There are 4 different levels:

  1. proved effective,
  2. effective but requiring further proof,
  3. some therapeutic evidence, but no better alternatives, making it worth trying,
  4. potentially effective if performed by a skilled doctor.

I will not recopy the whole list; you can see the full list here. I will only highlight more interesting conditions, ones I’ve talked about in this blog, and/or patient types I’ve seen in clinical practice.

(The numbered links are to my topical posts, whether or not discussing acupuncture as the therapy of choice. Please note: the WHO list does not include use of herbs or other TCM therapies.)

Acupuncture has been proved to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever) [1]
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke) [1] [2]
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential [1]
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Low back pain [1] [2]
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

Therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent [1] [2]
  • Earache
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Insomnia [1]
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Obesity [1] [2] [3]
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis) [1]
  • Spine pain, acute [1] [2]
  • Stiff neck [1] [2]
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic

Some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

  • Chloasma [1]
  • Deafness [1]
  • Hypophrenia [1]
  • Irritable colon syndrome
  • Pulmonary heart disease, chronic

Acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:

  • Coma
  • Convulsions in infants
  • Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
  • Diarrhoea in infants and young children
  • Paralysis, progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar

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