There has been increasing interest in acupuncture as a treatment in recent years, but little has been known about its impact. In a new study , experts have now concluded that there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect and could support certain treatments.
Scientists from the UK and the US examined results from 29 trials involving 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of the neck, lower back, head, and knee. They found that compared to standard care alone, the addition of acupuncture significantly reduced the number of headaches and migraine attacks, and reduced the severity of neck and lower back pain.
The team also conducted a new clinical trial among 755 patients with depression where acupuncture or counselling was provided and compared to the effectiveness of medication. They showed that both acupuncture and counselling reduced the severity of depressions. The benefits were largely sustained for up to 12 months after treatment.
Lead author, Professor Hugh MacPherson, from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, commented: “Our new data provides a significant step forward in treating chronic pain and managing depression, because patients and health professionals can now make decisions on acupuncture with more confidence.”