Acupuncture Effectiveness – WHO Results

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

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

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
  • When 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.


Acupuncture Effectiveness
Acupuncture on Forehead

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. 

WHO has many papers on how research should be done.

Do remember, that the whole point of acupuncture is to help you maintain balance between the yin and yang forces in your body and life! For that, we use acupuncture points. These lie on acupuncture channels. Behind all this there’s a sophisticated theory. We find that treatment has many benefits.


Continuing Research into Acupuncture Effectiveness

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. Then 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 it takes great work and time to fulfil the conditions required by the World Health Organisation.  Individual acupuncturists have neither the inclination nor the money for this.

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 WHO says is treatable with acupuncture doesn’t mean it will always respond immediately.

Some patients have conditions that are deeply embedded in their metabolism. It may 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.


Acupuncture for Family Health!


Happy family life helps avoid heart and gallbladder deficiency siutations
Family fun by sea – Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

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.

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


Tai Chi
Photo by Mark Hang Fung So on Unsplash


Of course, Chinese herbal medicine also uses the same theory.

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 to do to become healthy and to live a long life.

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

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

For acupuncture safety, click here.

Jonathan Brand colours

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