Acupuncture Research Studies

Acupuncture is Effective for Chronic Pain: New Study Published in Archives of Internal Medicine
A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that acupuncture is more effective for chronic pain than “sham acupuncture,” which is a placebo version of the treatment. This study has been touted as one of the largest, most rigorous and robust analyses to date on the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments for the amelioration of pain.
This research, an outcomes analysis from 29 randomized controlled trial studies, included nearly 18,000 people being treated for chronic pain from osteoarthritis, headaches, back, or shoulder pain. The study evaluated true acupuncture treatments in comparison to one of two alternatives: treatment as usual or sham acupuncture. The scientists concluded that the results of the analysis demonstrated that the specific effect of needling at true acupuncture points was statistically superior to sham needling. The authors also concluded that acupuncture was an effective and reasonable treatment option for the conditions evaluated.
A particular strength of this analysis was the large sample of patients studied and the rigorous exclusion criteria employed. This suggests that the significant effect of acupuncture was not likely due to study bias or sample size issues. Moreover, the effect size of acupuncture, when compared to other interventions such as usual care or ancillary care was also significant. Together this data strongly suggest that acupuncture should be an option for pain patients.


The embracement of complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture has steadily grown over the past several years. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, adults in the United States spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners and purchases of CAM products, classes, and materials for self-care. “This study reinforces what thousands of physicians have declared and consumers have experienced for many years; acupuncture is medically effective for the treatment of chronic pain”, states Michael Jabbour, president of the American Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM).

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