In November 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a panel of 12 distinguished physicians and scientists to review the history, licensing, practice, and current status of clinical research on the effectiveness of acupuncture.

The first formal endorsement of acupuncture by NIH stated, “There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.”

The panel reviewed evidence that acupuncture is effective for relief of:

  • post-operative chemotherapy
  • pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting
    and post-operative dental pain
  • relief of post-operative pain
  • addiction
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • carpal tunnel syndrome

  • osteoarthritis
  • headache
  • tennis elbow
  • fibromyalgia
  • menstrual cramps
  • asthma


In a more recent official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials (2003), the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • sciatica
  • tennis elbow
  • knee pain
  • periarthritis of the shoulder
  • sprains
  • facial pain (including craniomandibular
  • headache
  • dental pain
  • tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • induction of labor
  • correction of malposition of fetus (breech
  • morning sickness
  • nausea and vomiting

  • postoperative pain
  • stroke
  • essential hypertension
  • primary hypotension
  • renal colic
  • leucopenia
  • adverse reactions to radiation or
  • allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • biliary colic
  • depression (including depressive neurosis
    and depression following stroke)
  • acute bacillary dysentery
  • primary dysmenorrhea
  • acute epigastralgia
  • peptic ulcer
  • acute and chronic gastritis


The panel found that one of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition.

For a complete listing of medical trials and studies of acupuncture see the following World Health Organization publication: