Acupuncture Research:

The BAcC website is a good place to start.. Also see http://www.jcm.co.uk/research-archive/ 

There are several difficulties with producing research for TCM acupuncture.  As a holistic therapy, individuals are treated as such, and therefore patients with the same disease category in conventional medicine may be treated with different acupuncture points depending on their constitution and medical history, making comparative studies difficult.  There are also difficulties in creating placebos for acupuncture treatment as 'sham' acupuncture could also have an effect on the channels and meridians and therefore have an influence on the patient.  It is also very difficult (if not impossible) to 'blind' the acupunture practitioner, so double-blind randomised controlled trials (the golden standard in conventional medical trials) are not necessarily appropriate for Acupuncture or other holistic therapies.  Another issue is that much research is being carried out in China (and Japan and other countries), and not all is translated into English.

However, research is progressing and some fascinating results are coming to light. 

The Acupuncture Research Resource Centre (ARRC) has produced a set of briefing papers which review the evidence of effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of certain conditions including migraine, stroke, arthirits, gynaecology, menopause, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, obstetrics, sports injuries, asthma and infertility.  These can be downloaded from their website.  

Hugh MacPherson works at York University and is committed to the advancement of research in acupunture, and encouraging integration.  His website has good links to press releases and new research.


Member of the British Acupuncture Council