People across Asia have relied on acupuncture and herbs as their primary system of health care for thousands of years. When Acupuncture was introduced to the US in the 70's, western medical associations characterized it as an ineffective folk medicine. Times have changed. Millions of people in the US are relying on Acupuncture for their health care. Hospitals and Health Care Centers are bringing in Acupuncture services to treat a variety of conditions because of it's effective and produces few if any side effects.
In November 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) convened a panel of 12 distinguished physicians and scientists to review the history, licensing, practice, and current status of clinical research on the effectiveness of acupuncture.
The first formal endorsement of acupuncture by NIH stated, “There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.” The panel found clear evidence that needle acupuncture is effective for relief of post-operative chemotherapy, pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, and post-operative dental pain. Other benefits from acupuncture which are still under consideration include relief of post-operative pain, addiction, stroke rehabilitation, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, headache, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps, and asthma. The panel noted that the World Health Organization identified more than 40 conditions for which acupuncture may be helpful. The panel found that one of the advantages of acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition.
The National Library of Medicine journal database, PubMed, identified 10 systematic reviews that found sufficient evidence to conclude that a given Complementary or Alternative Medicine Therapy was effective for a given condition: acupuncture and yoga for back pain, acupuncture for knee pain (including osteoarthritis), acupuncture for insomnia, and acupuncture for nausea or vomiting (including postoperative, chemotherapy- induced, and pregnancy-induced). In addition, a systematic review concluded that acupuncture should be included among recommended therapies for treating back pain. That review served as the basis for joint clinical practice guidelines released by the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society.