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Over 8,000 randomized controlled trials have been conducted involving acupuncture in the last 40 years, with a significant increase in trials during the past several years.
Evidence Based Medicine (EBA)
The Acupuncture Evidence Project
The Acupuncture Evidence Project (AEP) is a landmark study commissioned by the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association that includes the most comprehensive reviews of research on acupuncture for 123 medical conditions.
The Acupuncture Evidence Project – A Comparative Literature Review 2017
Acupuncture in Pain Management:
Strengths and Weaknesses of a Promising Non-Pharmacologic Therapy in the Age of the Opioid Epidemic
This position paper published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine reviews the evidence regarding acupuncture in pain management of the most common pain conditions and explores the role acupuncture could play in reducing dependency of opioids and other harmful drugs for managing pain. The paper also considers factors such as cost and availability concerns that might discourage healthcare professionals from recommending acupuncture.
Acupuncture in Pain Management
British Acupuncture Council Research Fact Sheets
NCCAOM Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine News and Resource Center
In 1997 the National Institutes of Health approved acupuncture as an adjunctive treatment for several conditions, including pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome, and paralysis from stroke. Over 500 positive clinical trials measuring the efficacy of acupuncture have been conducted over the past three decades. In these studies, inclusion of acupuncture did not significantly escalate health care costs, perhaps decreasing costs if preventive care, whose results are hard to factor in, are included.
There are 50 systematic reviews of acupuncture in the Cochrane databases, which represent the gold standard in research reviews. Overall, the trend has been favorable, advocating for the use of acupuncture in a clinical setting as an adjunct treatment with conventional therapies where suitable (
Witt et al. 2006
). Favorable outcomes include acupuncture treatment for low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, TMJ, headaches, infertility, pain and nausea in cancer patients.