Scientific Evidence Proves Acupuncture Works

Is There A Downside to Acupuncture?

Side effects of conventional medicine vs acupuncture.

Did you know that 106,000 people die every year from adverse negative side effects of prescription drug use?  Or that 12,000 year die from unnecessary surgery.  Did you know that 80,000 die every year from infections caught in the hospital?  That doesn’t include the 45,000 a year that die from hospital errors.  That means that 225,000 people a year die from iatrogenic causes (induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy).  This is the 3rd leading cause of death (following heart disease and cancer).

Did you also know that serious adverse side effects from acupuncture are VERY RARE.  According to the World Health Organization only 3 deaths have occurred between 1980 – 2009 from acupuncture.  Wow, three in 29 years… only three.

With so many adverse side effects of western medicine, it’s no wonder 3.1 million Americans use acupuncture as a form of medical treatment a year.  With hardly any negative side effects associated with acupuncture and with all the evidence below supporting it’s efficacy, there is no downside to using acupuncture as an effective means of treating illness.

Is Acupuncture Effective?

In 1997, NIH reported 28 diseases that acupuncture was effective at treating.  Listed among the most common complaints treated by acupuncture were the following:

  • chronic pain
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • fibromyalgia
  • nausea
  • quit smoking
  • arthritis
  • back pain
  • neck pain
  • cancer supportive therapy (for nausea and to relieve pain)
  • infertility

Is there enough Scientific Evidence Proving Acupuncture Works?

Evidence of Acupuncture Working

In 2001, The British Acupuncture Council reported that physical symptoms were relieved 75% of the time from acupuncture and that emotional symptoms were relieved 67% of the time.  In as many as 54% of the people surveyed, they felt significant life changes after receiving acupuncture.

Many studies done on IVF found that fertility, implantation, pregnancy and the chance of a take home baby were 40-50% higher when combined with acupuncture.

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncturist posted the following quote about cancer treatment with acupuncture (in the article Acupuncture for Cancer Treatment by Eugene Mak, MD).  “Acupuncture is effective for control of pain, of local swelling post-operatively, for shortening the resolution of hematoma and tissue swelling and for minimizing use of medications and their attendant side effects. Energetic acupuncture, an approach consisting of the use of needles with electricity and moxibustion (a form of local heating with herbs imparts a sense of well being and accelerates patients’ recovery.”

Here’s what Patrick LaRiccia, MD states about acupuncture for seasonal allergies: “I find it gratifying to treat seasonal allergies with acupuncture. There is often a quick response. Often patients get some relief during the first visit while lying on the exam table with their acupuncture needles in place.”


In addition, many doctors and chiropractors are returning to study acupuncture and offer it in their clinics.  Nurse practitioners are also getting certified in ear acupuncture for detox centers.  According to CNN one-half of all medical schools now offer courses in holistic health care.

Finally, most health insurance providers are offering preventative care packages for a reduction in cost or reimbursement when using therapies such as acupuncture. (more about this in an upcoming article).  With the changes in healthcare over the next 12 months, we will see all insurance companies in Maryland cover acupuncture.  The acupuncture community is finally starting to get the respect it deserves.


For thousands of years the Chinese have practiced Acupuncture as a medicine and proved it’s efficacy.  Now, the west is also jumping on the band wagon in support.  After years of skepticism, science is proving this ancient practice has modern day practicality.

As you are thinking this all over, keep what Bruce Pomeranz PhD says about acupuncture.  “I’ve recently done a review of 85 papers assessing drugs used in conventional medicine. The side effects of drugs are horrendous. In contrast, the side effect profile for acupuncture is almost zero. If you do proper acupuncture, you can’t hurt anybody. You can’t say that about drugs. In the best of hands at Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, drugs are going to have a certain side effect profile. So as a first line of treatment, why not try the conservative, the safe acupuncture treatment?

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