What diseases or ailments can acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions ranging from stress/anxiety to pain to disease. The following is a list of common conditions for which acupuncture has been proven effective in clinical studies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
  • Allergies
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Breech position in pregnancy
  • Depression
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Induction of labor
  • Knee pain
  • Low back pain
  • Menstrual pain
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in dentistry
  • Postoperative pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Sprain
  • Stroke
  • Tennis elbow
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder

The WHO also recognizes other conditions for which acupuncture has shown efficacy but further research is necessary.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Chinese acupuncture is finally getting under the skin of dieters by tapping into the body's many hidden energy meridians. The ancient practice of acupuncture helps to heal a host of ailments, and practitioners of Western medicine now embrace it to quell chronic pain, postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, addictions, and weight loss. When fine needles are barely inserted into the skin along strategic points on the body, it can restore balance to the flow of energy along rivers of Qi (pronounced chee; also spelled chi), or life force.

There are many reasons people become overweight -- hormone imbalances, slowed metabolism, overeating, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise are some of the most common.

Using acupuncture to tackle weight loss is a multipronged approach.

This content originally appeared on

Acupuncture appears to be effective in postoperative nausea, morning sickness, recurrent headache, post-operative pain after dental treatment, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Research may help us find more about the efficacy of this method with other ailments.

Acupuncture is rarely associated with serious complications, but hepatitis and other infections have been linked to inadequately sterilized needles. Only disposable needles should be used.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era

More About this Book

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era

America's best-selling book on all aspects of women's health With more than four million copies sold, "Our Bodies, Ourselves" is "the" classic resource that women of all ages can turn to for...

Continue Learning about Acupuncture

The Power of Acupuncture
The Power of Acupuncture
You may not like the idea of being needled, but acupuncture has been a go-to therapy for over 5,000 years. And this Chinese healing art, which uses ha...
Read More
What is ear acupuncture?
Dr. Daniel Hsu, DAOMDr. Daniel Hsu, DAOM
Ear acupuncture works much like conventional acupuncture, but with a twist. Find out how ear acupu...
More Answers
What is moxibustion for back pain?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
After the common cold, back pain ranks as the second biggest reason why people visit their doctor. T...
More Answers
What Does Acupuncture Help Treat?
What Does Acupuncture Help Treat?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.