The objective of this publication is to provide a review and analysis of controlled clinical trials of acupuncture therapy, as reported in the current literature, with a view to strengthening and promoting the appropriate use of acupuncture in health care systems throughout the world. Information on the therapeutic mechanisms of acupuncture has also been incorporated.
Since the methodology of clinical research on acupuncture is still under debate, it is very difficult to evaluate acupuncture practice by any generally accepted measure. This review is limited to controlled clinical trials that were published up to 1998 (and early 1999 for some journals), in the hope that the conclusions will prove more acceptable. Such trials have only been performed for a limited number of diseases or disorders. This should not be taken to mean, however, that acupuncture treatment of diseases or disorders not mentioned here is excluded.