World Health Organization Report on Acupuncture

Diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture.

From the publication titled Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials published in 2002 by the World Health Organization.

The diseases or disorders for which acupuncture therapy has been tested in controlled clinical trials reported in the recent literature can be classified into four categories as shown below.

1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved—through controlled trials—to be an effective treatment:

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
  • Biliary colic
  • Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • Dysentery, acute bacillary
  • Dysmenorrhoea, primary
  • Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
  • Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  • Headache
  • Hypertension, essential
  • Hypotension, primary
  • Induction of labour
  • Knee pain
  • Leukopenia
  • Low back pain
  • Malposition of fetus, correction of
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
  • Periarthritis of shoulder
  • Postoperative pain
  • Renal colic
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow

2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

  • Abdominal pain (in acute gastroenteritis or due to gastrointestinal spasm)
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Alcohol dependence and detoxification
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Bronchial asthma
  • Cancer pain
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Cholecystitis, chronic, with acute exacerbation
  • Cholelithiasis
  • Competition stress syndrome
  • Craniocerebral injury, closed
  • Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
  • Earache
  • Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
  • Epistaxis, simple (without generalized or local disease)
  • Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection
  • Female infertility
  • Facial spasm
  • Female urethral syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
  • Gastrokinetic disturbance
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Hepatitis B virus carrier status
  • Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
  • Hyperlipaemia
  • Hypo-ovarianism
  • Insomnia
  • Labour pain
  • Lactation, deficiency
  • Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
  • Ménière disease
  • Neuralgia, post-herpetic
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain due to endoscopic examination
  • Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein–Leventhal syndrome)
  • Postextubation in children
  • Postoperative convalescence
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Prostatitis, chronic
  • Pruritus
  • Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome
  • Raynaud syndrome, primary
  • Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Retention of urine, traumatic
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sialism, drug-induced
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
  • Spine pain, acute
  • Stiff neck
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Tietze syndrome
  • Tobacco dependence
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis, chronic
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vascular dementia
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

3. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which there are only individual controlled trials reporting some therapeutic effects, but for which acupuncture is worth trying because treatment by conventional and other therapies is difficult:

  • Chloasma
  • Choroidopathy, central serous
  • Colour blindness
  • Deafness
  • Hypophrenia
  • Irritable colon syndrome
  • Neuropathic bladder in spinal cord injury
  • Pulmonary heart disease, chronic
  • Small airway obstruction

4. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture may be tried provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment:

  • Breathlessness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Coma
  • Convulsions in infants
  • Coronary heart disease (angina pectoris)
  • Diarrhoea in infants and young children
  • Encephalitis, viral, in children, late stage
  • Paralysis, progressive bulbar and pseudobulbar


5 Responses to “World Health Organization Report on Acupuncture”

  1. Dr Graeme Teague said:

    Jun 30, 08 at 11:33 pm

    Does this mean Acupressure also, or is this a totally separate situation. Surely using the same Meridians but different ways to stimulate them would also fir the same as above.

    What about stimulation from a Homeopathic source? DO you have any information on these also. It would be good to know.

    Dr Graeme Teague
    The Back Pain Advisor

  2. Dr Greaeme Teague said:

    Jul 08, 08 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks Shannon,

    I use in my practice a combination of Chiropractic technique (mainly Applied Kinesiology), Acupressure and Homeopathy.

    I find by teaching patients Acupressure to do at home, they can reinforce the treatment I give. With Acupuncture you cannot give patients needles to insert at home.

    I agree Acupuncture is great, research proves this, but combined with Acupressure would work even better.

    I teach people through the internet to correct their back pain issues, by using stretches, reflexes to stimulate weak muscles, joint techniques to realign the spine and balance the pelvis. I also teach them Acupressure points to help build and improve things further. Not bragging, but I get brilliant responses and fantastic testimonials to that fact.

    Just a thought, and once again thanks for your reply and great article.

    All the best

    Dr Graeme Teague
    The Back Pain Advisor

  3. Gargoyles said:

    Oct 06, 10 at 3:42 pm

    Good luck getting people behind this one. Though you make some VERY fascinating points, youre going to have to do more than bring up a few things that may be different than what weve already heard. What are trying to say here? What do you want us to think? It seems like you cant really get behind a unique thought. Anyway, thats just my opinion.

  4. New Cialis said:

    Nov 21, 10 at 11:09 am

    Great to know that acupuncture has been effective in treating Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever). I have this allergy always and seems to be repetitive in a year. It is like, I have this every 2 months or 3 months in a year. This is what I am worried for. Have you known acupuncture centers in the Philippines? Please let me know then. Thanks.

  5. shannonfeely said:

    Dec 03, 10 at 10:46 pm

    You can try contacting the Philippine Acupuncture Board or the Filipino medical acupuncturist association (PAMAI) for a certified acupuncturist. Herbal medicine can also work very well for allergic rhinitis, so you can also try contacting a herbalist.
    Best wishes,

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