Acupuncture is Good For What?

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Acupuncture is Good For What?

We believe that acupuncture is good for many conditions but current UK law administered by the British Advertising Standards Authority now insists that only when ‘robust’ evidence is available may claims for efficacy actually be made.

By ‘robust’ evidence they mean that

  • neither the WHO (World Health Organisation) list of conditions treatable by acupuncture 
  • nor a similar list on the British National Health Service acupuncture evidence site

is adequate! They regard such lists as being based only on positive evidence and not on all reviews including those of research conducted on a condition where the results were also found to be negative or inconclusive.

We would point out that although, for convenience, conditions with names such as nausea, vomiting and dental pain are treated as such (and successfully according to their requirements for ‘robust’ evidence) acupuncturists don’t treat such conditions!


What acupuncture is good for are, for example, syndromes and channel problems as defined in Chinese medicine.

For example, ‘nausea’ is not such a syndrome.

Nausea can arise in Chinese medicine from a multitude of syndromes, some easier to treat than others, such as

-          Liver qi stagnation with invasion of the Stomach

-          Stomach qi not descending

-          Stomach Heat

-          Stomach qi deficiency

-          Stomach Full condition

-          Heat in the Liver and Gall-Bladder

-          Cold in the Stomach, and so on. (Yes, there are more!)

-          A combination of the above

When you visit your acupuncturist, you may think you are being treated for nausea, your presenting condition.

Not so!

Actually, you are being treated for one of the conditions in the list above, or a combination of them. If the treatment is successful, your nausea will improve – almost as a side effect.

Firm opinions!

People often don't know about the wealth of condition acupuncture is used for. Sometimes they've been told by a friend that acupuncture is good for the problem the friend had, but assume it's no good for anything else.

Or they assume it's good for everything!

What else does your acupuncturist need to know?

Apart from the usual medical details (see Consultation), it is important that you let your practitioner know:

  1. If you have ever experienced a fit, faint or funny turn.
  2. If you have a pacemaker or any other electrical implants.
  3. If you have a bleeding disorder.
  4. If you are taking anti-coagulants or any other medication.
  5. If you have damaged heart valves or have any other particular risk of infection.

He (or she) needs to know the answers to these questions not just so as to guide him away from inappropriate treatment but to give him a deeper understanding of your condition.

For example, you may think that your pacemaker controls your heart so your acupuncturist need not worry about it, but if your heartbeat is being controlled that means that at least one of the basic syndromes in Chinese medicine needs attention - and that may be as well as the syndrome he might otherwise have diagnosed.

By diagnosing your symptoms into syndromes, your acupuncturist can tell you which of them acupuncture is good for.

Also, if you have pain along one or more channels, he may be able to clear any blockage or deficiency in those channels, thereby relieving pain. Is acupuncture good for acupuncture channel problems? It most certainly is!

Find an Acupuncturist!

If you live in the Edinburgh area of Scotland, where the author of this site (and of the books described below) works, click on Edinburgh Acupuncturist.

If you live elsewhere, click on BAcC.

Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index. 

Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:

Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine

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