Acupuncture Effectiveness
World Health Organisation Results


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What the World Health Organisation (WHO) thinks about acupuncture effectiveness is important. Why? Because many people trust it.

And if you've got a condition which acupuncture might help, then what the WHO says may give you confidence.

By the way! If you've had a good experience with acupuncture and would be willing to share it, there's a form at the bottom of the page.

The World Health Organisation divided what their experts found into four categories:

  • Where they've seen enough clinical trials to be sure acupuncture is effective
  • Where they've seen plenty of good results but still want to see more proof
  • Where they have only seen one or two trials but even so, they think acupuncture is "worth trying" because normal treatment isn't easy to do or may be ineffective
  • Where they think acupuncture should be used only by an appropriately trained medical practitioner with the right equipment

Read more about the World Health Organisation's position on this further down the page.

What about Acupuncture Effectiveness for Pain?

WHO acknowledges that acupuncture effectiveness "has been established in controlled clinical studies" and works better than placebo most of the time but what's interesting is they've found that...

"for chronic pain
acupuncture effectiveness is comparable with that of morphine"

As you may know, morphine is one of modern medicine's most powerful pain-killers. The problem with morphine is that it has many side-effects, for example confusion (to put if mildly), with poor appetite, nausea, constipation and so on. 

Specifically they say:

"Because of the side-effects of long-term drug therapy for pain and the risks of dependence, acupuncture analgesia can be regarded as the method of choice for treating many chronically painful conditions."

You can read what WHO said and its list of diseases effective for treatment by acupuncture and the references by clicking here. (The link opens onto the WHO site.)

Continuing Research

Of course, people are using and researching acupuncture and its effects all the time, and not all of it gets published. Many acupuncturists notice how a particular treatment always seems to work, and they tell other acupuncturists who find it works too. However, not all acupuncturists have the time or inclination to write it up and get it published.

Often the work needed to fulfil the conditions required by, for example, the World Health Organisation, takes great time and expense which individual acupuncturists have neither the inclination nor the money for.

So it doesn't get published. But you may find that your acupuncturist has successfully treated a condition not on the WHO lists.

Also, just because a condition on the World Health Organisation's list above is said to be treatable with acupuncture, that doesn't mean it will always respond immediately.

Some patients have conditions that are deeply embedded in their metabolism and take quite a few treatments before they get good results. You may need patience; acupuncture effectiveness can be great but please don't expect one treatment will always solve a problem that you've been seeing your doctor about for years!

The British Acupuncture Council publishes a list online of research.

What do Newspapers say?

Lots! For acupuncture effectiveness - Click here for an article in the Scotsman.

Acupuncture for Family Health!

Unfortunately, you won't find acupuncture for health and family health among the WHO's claims.

Yet, for thousands of years acupuncture has been used in many countries East and West, to get and stay healthy.

Why should it be used for getting well, rather than for the relief of medical conditions?

I think it's because acupuncture theory also clearly shows how to achieve health.

The theory is at the root of Tai Chi, Chi Gung, many forms of massage and treatment (eg Shiatsu and Applied Kinesiology) and other ancient systems of treatment like cupping and moxa.

The theory behind acupuncture is also behind many forms of meditation. It has a philosophy of life that is very attractive, and its advice about food and living conditions makes a lot of sense.

It boils down to an understanding of what is called 'Qi'. What Qi is and does, and how well it flows in your body determines your health and, in the absence of war and accidents, how long you'll probably live.

If you understand the theory, then you'll realise what you need to do to become healthy and to live a long life.

So, most of all, people use acupuncture because they find it works!

If you would like to find an acupuncturist and you live in Edinburgh or SE Scotland, where the author of this site works, click Edinburgh Acupuncturist, otherwise click British Acupuncture Council.

One more thing! Click on acupuncture side effect to read about something else that may be worrying you!

What's your experience about the effectiveness of acupuncture?

Do you have an experience you could tell us about? Perhaps an acupuncture treatment that hugely changed your life?

Click to return from Acupuncture Effectiveness to What is Acupuncture

Or click to return from Acupuncture Effectiveness to our Home page.


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By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.

For the Latest Reviews of 'Qi Stagnation', click here!

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