World Health Organization

ACUPUNCTURE: REVIEW AND ANALYSIS OF REPORTS ON CONTROLLED CLINICAL TRIALS
(below are excerpts from this publication by the World Health Organization)

In 1996, a draft report on the clinical practice of acupuncture was reviewed at the WHO Consultation on Acupuncture held in Cervia, Italy. The participants recommended that WHO should revise the report, focusing on data from controlled clinical trials.  This review is limited to controlled clinical trials that were published up to 1998 (and early 1999 for some journals), in the hope that the conclusions will prove more acceptable. Such trials have only been performed for a limited number of diseases or disorders. This should not be taken to mean, however, that acupuncture treatment of diseases or disorders not mentioned here is excluded.

The therapeutic effects of acupuncture are brought about through its regulatory actions on various systems. It can be regarded as a nonspecific therapy with a broad spectrum of indications and is particularly helpful in functional disorders. Although it is often used as a symptomatic treatment (for pain, for instance), in many cases it actually acts on one of the pathogenic links of a disease. The regulatory action of acupuncture is bi-directional. Acupuncture lowers the blood pressure in patients with hypertension and elevates it in patients with hypotension; increases gastric secretion in patients with hypoacidity, and decreases it in patients with hyperacidity; and normalizes intestinal motility under X-ray observation in patients with either spastic colitis or intestinal hypotonia. Since its therapeutic actions are achieved by mobilization of the organism’s own potential, acupuncture does not produce adverse effects, as do many drug therapies. For example, when release of hydrocortisone plays an important role in the production of a therapeutic effect, the dose of this substance released by acupuncture is small and finely regulated, thereby avoiding the side effects of hydrocortisone chemotherapy.

Respiratory: Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever), Bronchial asthma, Epistaxis, (simple, without generalized or local disease), Sore throat (including tonsillitis), Whooping cough (pertussis)

Digestive: Biliary colic, Dysentery acute bacillary
, Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm), Nausea and vomiting, Morning sickness, Cholecystitis, (chronic, with acute exacerbation), Cholelithiasis, Gastrokinetic disturbance, Ulcerative colitis (chronic)

Reproductive: Dysmenorrhoea (primary), Induction of labour, Malposition of fetus (correction of), Female infertility, Labour pain, Lactation (deficiency), Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic (erectile dysfunction, ED), Hypo-ovarianism, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS, Stein–Leventhal syndrome), Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Prostatitis (chronic)

Neurological/Inflammatory: Knee pain, Low back pain, Sciatica, Spine pain (acute), 
Sprain, Neck pain, Stiff neck Tennis elbow, Periarthritis of shoulder, Rheumatoid arthritis, Gouty arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and fasciitis, Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular joint dysfunction TMJ), Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders), Bell’s palsy, Facial spasm, Eye pain due to subconjunctival injection, Earache, Headache, Postoperative pain, Postoperative convalescence, Postextubation in children, Pain due to endoscopic examination, Stroke, Cancer pain, Neuralgia, post-herpetic, Ménière disease, Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
 (Buerger’s disease and Presenile gangrene), Radicular and pseudoradicular pain syndrome, Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
syndrome (RSD), Tietze syndrome
 (Costochondritis), Tourette syndrome

Chronic/Lifestyle Disease: Hypertension (essential), Hypotension (primary), Diabetes mellitus (non-insulin-dependent), Hyperlipaemia, Obesity , Insomnia

Urinary: Female urethral syndrome, Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection, Renal colic (pain from kidney stones), Retention of urine (traumatic), Urolithiasis (kidney stones)

Iatrogenic: Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, Sialism, (drug-induced)

Skin: Acne vulgaris, Neurodermatitis, Pruritus

Infectious: Epidemic haemorrhagic fever, Hepatitis B virus carrier status, Herpes zoster (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)

Circulatory: Craniocerebral injury (closed), Leukopenia, Raynaud syndrome (primary), Vascular dementia

Autoimmune: Sjögren syndrome

Psychoemotional: Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke), Cardiac  neurosis (panic attacks), Competition stress syndrome, Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence, Alcohol dependence and detoxification, Tobacco dependence, Schizophrenia