The World Health Organization (WHO) serves as the authority for health and health care within the United Nations system and is leader on global health matters. In addition to playing a key role in medical research, establishing health care standards and policy, the WHO also monitors and assesses emerging trends in global health.
In 2003, the WHO published a review of clinical trials of acupuncture, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials. As a result of this publication, the WHO recognizes 28 diseases, symptoms, or conditions for which acupuncture has been proven to be an effective form of treatment. These include:
-Adverse Reactions to radiotherpy
-Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
-Dystentery, acute bacillary
-Induction of labour
-Low back pain
-Malposition of fetus
-Nausea and vomiting
-Pain in dentistry
-Periarthritis of shoulder
The WHO also recognizes acupuncture’s therapeutic effects for over 55 diseases, symptoms, or conditions, but noted additional controlled trials are needed.
Acupuncture is a system of medical care that originated in China thousands of years ago which has since become widely used in health care systems throughout the world. During acupuncture treatment, thin needles are inserted into the patient’s body at specific points to treat disease, alleviate symptoms, or relieve pain. The application of needles can also be combined with moxibustion (the burning of particular herbs over the skin) to stimulate certain points.
One of the most well-known modalities within Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is often used by practitioners in conjunction with herbal medicine, dietary therapy, Asian bodywork therapies, and mind-body exercise to treat patients.