A common question  people often ask me is “What can acupuncture treat ?”

Here is a list from the World Health Organization but in my experience acupuncture treats a much wider range of issues.


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
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Hypertension, essential Hypotension, primary Induction of labour
Knee pain
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
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
Epidemic haemorrhagic
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
herpes virus
Labour pain
Hyperlipaemia Hypo-ovarianism
Lactation deficiency                                                                                           Male sexual dysfunction,
non-organic Ménière disease Neuralgia,
post-herpetic Neurodermatitis
Obesity-weight loss
Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
Pain due to endoscopic examination
Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
Postextubation in children
Postoperative convalescence
Premenstrual syndrome
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
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
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