Diseases and disorders that can be treated with acupuncture according to the
World Health Organization
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
    Dysmenorrhoea, primary
    Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
    Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
    Headache
    Hypertension, essential
    Hypotension, primary
    Induction of labour
    Knee pain
    Leukopenia
    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
    Sciatica
    Sprain
    Stroke
    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
    Earache
    Epidemic haemorrhagic fever
    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 (human (alpha) herpesvirus 3)
    Hyperlipaemia
    Hypo-ovarianism
    Insomnia
    Labour pain
    Lactation, deficiency
    Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
    Ménière disease
    Neuralgia, post-herpetic
    Neurodermatitis
    Obesity
    Opium, cocaine and heroin dependence
    Osteoarthritis
    Pain due to endoscopic examination
    Pain in thromboangiitis obliterans
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome)
    Postextubation in children
    Postoperative convalescence
    Premenstrual syndrome
    Prostatitis, 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
    Deafness
    Hypophrenia
    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
    Coma
    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