Many people ask me what is acupuncture for and what can it treat?

AcupunctureThe simple answer is acupuncture is for the treatment of people, and people have many different conditions. Acupuncture was originally designed to keep people healthy when they are already healthy. This is the same principle of not just eating healthy food when you are sick, you eat healthy food all the time to stop you from getting sick!

In essence acupuncture is a way of stimulating the body’s own ability to heal itself.

The body always knows how to heal, but sometimes it needs assistance or to be reminded of what it should be doing. Acupuncture is the painless insertion of tiny needles or pins into specific locations in the body. This has an internal affect, with the principle being that you can influence the interior of the body by accessing points on the outside.

Chinese medicine is not based in science in any respect, the laws of biology and chemistry do not apply in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and it is for this reason an acupuncturist can quite often get results for patients when other forms of medicine, including western medicine, prove ineffective.

A modern trained acupuncturist must still undergo rigorous training in western biological diseases to also have a complete understanding of common conditions like arthritis or high cholesterol etc..

My own experience with Chinese medicine teaches me that acupuncture, especially when combined with nutritional medicine, is particularly effective in the treatment of all inflammatory conditions.

In a collective effort to show the efficacy and effectiveness of Acupuncture a meta review was conducted in 2016 and later reviewed in January of 2017 which showed all quality research of Acupuncture at this time. This is known as ‘The Acupuncture Evidence Project’

122 total conditions were reviewed with positive results supporting Acupuncture for 117 of these conditions!

Strong evidence was found for using Acupuncture to effectively treat the following conditions;

  • Allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal)
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Headache (tension-type & chronic)
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Migrane prophylaxis
  • Postoperative nausea and vomiting
  • Postoperative pain

The quality of this evidence is rated moderate to high.

Moderate evidence was also found for using Acupuncture in the following conditions;

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

The quality of this evidence is also rated moderate to high


McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo

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