Modern research of ancient and new natural health practices

Is there evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, supplements, and good nutrition–some of the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine? Yes. Here are some basic examples of that research, though you can find much, much more via a PubMed online search.

effectiveness of acupuncture TCM nutrition science supplements

People question whether acupuncture has a true therapeutic effect, or whether it works merely through the placebo effect, the power of suggestion, or the enthusiasm with which patients wish for a cure. There is therefore a need for scientific studies that evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture under controlled clinical conditions. Some of these studies have provided incontrovertible scientific evidence that acupuncture is more successful than placebo treatments in certain conditions. For example, the proportion of chronic pain relieved by acupuncture is generally in the range 55–85%, which compares favourably with that of potent drugs (morphine helps in 70% of cases) and far outweighs the placebo effect (30–35%). In addition, the mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia have been studied extensively since the late 1970s, revealing the role of neural and humoral factors.

— World Health Organization (WHO)


How Does Acupuncture Work?

Mechanisms of acupuncture (i.e. how it works, as least as far as we know now)

Acupuncture enhances generation of nitric oxide and increases local circulation

Acupuncture alters brain stimuli

CT scan reveals acupuncture points

Connective tissue’s role in the benefits of acupuncture

Acupuncture affects opioid receptors to relieve pain

EEG effects of acupuncture

Generally speaking, acupuncture treatment is safe, if it is performed properly by a well-trained practitioner. Unlike many drugs, it is non-toxic, and adverse reactions are minimal. This is probably one of the chief reasons why acupuncture is so popular in the treatment of chronic pain in many countries. As mentioned previously, acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency.

World Health Organization (WHO)

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for pain–chronic, injury, menstrual, headache

Complementary Integrative Therapies That Work – A Review of the Evidence 2016 (Acupuncture gets and A grade for treating low back pain) 

Acupuncture for chronic pain ( JAMA Internal Medicine)

Acupuncture to treat chronic migraines

Brain scanning for activity during acupuncture for migraine treatment

Acupuncture and Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Meta-Analysis Acupuncture for Knee Osteoarthritis

Chronic neck pain: a comparison of acupuncture treatment and physiotherapy.

Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care: large, pragmatic, randomised trial

Acupuncture for soft tissue injuries

Acupuncture treats menstrual cramps

Acupuncture to treat neuropathic pain: A meta-analysis

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Allergies

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized-controlled clinical trial.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Digestive Issues

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome With Chinese Herbal Medicine

Berberine, a major component of the Chinese herbs huang lian, huang improve , huang qin, ku shen, and long dan cao may help improve leaky gut syndrome.

Effectiveness of acupuncture for IBS pain, fMRI study

Acupuncture for chronic severe functional constipation

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Sleep

Effects of acupuncture therapy on insomnia

Acupuncture for sleep apnea

Acupuncture better than sleep drugs for insomnia: A systematic review


Over its 2500 years of development, a wealth of experience has accumulated in the practice of acupuncture, attesting to the wide range of diseases and conditions that can be effectively treated with this approach.

[Note: This report has 293 references!]

— World Health Organization (WHO)