Research articles

Research Articles

Acupuncture research is a worldwide growing field. There are plenty of research articles demonstrating the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese medicine at treating various health complaints. The current focus is more on how acupuncture works rather than whether or not it works.


The Acupuncture Now Foundation is a great resource for more information if you are interested in this topic.

ANF 2016 White Paper Review

The Acupuncture Evidence Project: Plain English Summary

Acupuncture In Pain Management: Strengths and Weaknesses of a Promising Non-Pharmacologic Therapy in the Age of the Opioid Epidemic 


The British Acupuncture Council has provided research information fact sheets on acupuncture and the treatment of 60+ health conditions.

The Evidence Based Acupuncture website discusses acupuncture research and possible mechanisms of action.

The Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association also provides information on conditions which may benefit from acupuncture treatments.

The ABC programme ‘Catalyst’ reports on ‘Improving the Odds of IVF’

Fact Sheet – Acupuncture for Low Back Pain and Sciatica

You may also wish to view this 10 minute video on the nuts and bolts of acupuncture research.

The links below provide access to just some of the research articles on acupuncture for various health issues. This list will change, grow and be categorised over time, so feel free to keep an eye out for new additions.

Pain / Inflammation / Neurology

Dynorphin-(1-13), an extraordinarily potent opioid peptide.

Acupuncture and endorphins

Evidence map of acupuncture

Mechanisms of acupuncture in persistent pain

Acupuncture Effect and Central Autonomic Regulation 

Anti-inflammatory Actions of Acupuncture

Neural Acupuncture Unit: A New Concept for Interpreting Effects and Mechanisms of Acupuncture

The anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture and their relevance to allergic rhinitis: a narrative review and proposed model

Mediators, receptors and signalling pathways in the anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesic effects of acupuncture

Acupuncture Before and During Surgery Reduces the Need for Potent Painkillers

Enhanced Functional Connectivity between the Bilateral Primary Motor Cortices after Acupuncture at Yanglingquan (GB34) in Right-Hemispheric Subcortical Stroke Patients: A Resting-State fMRI Study

Revealing metabolite biomarkers for acupuncture treatment by linear programming based feature selection

Electro-acupuncture at Acupoint ST36 Ameliorates Inflammation and Regulates Th1/Th2 Balance in Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity.

Electroacupuncture improves imbalance of autonomic function under restraint stress in conscious rats.

Influence of acupuncture of Zusanli (ST 36) on connectivity of brain functional network in healthy subjects

Review of Evidence Suggesting That the Fascia Network could be the Anatomical Basis for Acupoints and Meridians in the Human Body

Headaches & Migraines

Acupuncture in primary headache treatment.

Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Acupuncture for migraine prevention

Musculoskeletal Conditions

German Acupuncture Trials for Chronic Low Back Pain: Randomised, Multicentre, Blinded, Parallel Group Trial with 3 Groups

Acupuncture in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain

Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED

Acupuncture for the treatment of phantom limb syndrome in lower limb amputees: a randomised controlled feasibility study

Comparison of the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment and local anaesthetic injection for low back pain: a randomised controlled clinical trial.

Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy.


Improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with acupuncture: results of a randomized controlled trial.

Nausea / Vomiting

Wrist acupressure for post-operative nausea and vomiting (WrAP): A pilot study

PC6 acupoint stimulation for the prevention of postcardiac surgery nausea and vomiting: a protocol for a two-group, parallel, superiority randomised clinical trial.

Acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. 

Can acupuncture have specific effects on health? A systematic review of acupuncture antiemesis trials

Bladder Function

Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomised controlled trial


Acupuncture in Menopause (AIM) study: a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial.

Blood Pressure / Cardiovascular

Repetitive Electroacupuncture Attenuates Cold-Induced Hypertension through Enkephalin in the Rostral Ventral Lateral Medulla.

Acupuncture Decreases Blood Pressure Related to Hypothalamus Functional Connectivity with Frontal Lobe, Cerebellum, and Insula: A Study of Instantaneous and Short-Term Acupuncture Treatment in Essential Hypertension.

Cardiovascular Response to Manual Acupuncture Needle Stimulation among Apparently Healthy Nigerian Adults.

Randomized Trial of Acupuncture to Lower Blood Pressure

Effects of electrical stimulation of acupuncture points on blood pressure

Acupuncture lowers blood pressure in mild hypertension patients: a randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded pilot trial.

The effect of acupuncture on high blood pressure of patients using antihypertensive drugs.

Digestive Health

Manual Acupuncture and Laser Acupuncture for Autonomic Regulations in Rats: Observation on Heart Rate Variability and Gastric Motility

Acupuncture for Functional gastrointestinal disorders

Efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine for the management of constipation: a systematic review.

Acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of active Crohn’s disease: a randomized controlled study.

Brain-Gut Axis Modulation of Acupuncture in Functional Dyspepsia: A Preliminary Resting-State fcMRI Study.

Effects of Different Local Moxibustion-Like Stimuli at Zusanli (ST36) and Zhongwan (CV12) on Gastric Motility and Its Underlying Receptor Mechanism.

Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function

Acupuncture for Functional Dyspepsia: A Single Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Electroacupuncture Stimulation at CV12 Inhibits Gastric Motility via TRPV1 Receptor.

Stimulation of gastric slow waves with manual acupuncture at acupuncture points ST36 and PC6–a randomized single blind controlled trial.

Patients with systemic sclerosis have unique and persistent alterations in gastric myoelectrical activity with acupressure to Neiguan point PC6.

Meta-analysis of acupuncture for relieving non-organic dyspeptic symptoms suggestive of diabetic gastroparesis

Acupuncture at “Zusanli” (St.36) and “Sanyinjiao” (SP.6) Points on the Gastrointestinal Tract: A Study of the Bioavailability of Tc-Sodium Pertechnetate in Rats

Electroacupuncture Accelerates Solid Gastric Emptying and Improves Dyspeptic Symptoms in Patients with Functional Dyspepsia

Effects of acupuncture stimulation on blood glucose concentration in the Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rat, an animal model for type-2 diabetes mellitus

Constipation predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome treated with Acupuncture for regulating the mind and strengthening the spleen: A randomised controlled trial 

Fertility / Gynaecology / IVF / Reproductive Health

Women’s Health

Prior to Conception: The Role of an Acupuncture Protocol in Improving Women’s Reproductive Functioning Assessed by a Pilot Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial.

Infertility in polycystic ovary syndrome treated with acupuncture and clomiphene: a randomized controlled trial

Is acupuncture in addition to conventional medicine effective as pain treatment for endometriosis? A randomised controlled cross-over trial.

Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: effect and Mechanisms of Acupuncture for Ovulation Induction.

Impact of electro-acupuncture and physical exercise on hyperandrogenism and oligo/amenorrhea in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial.

Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of female infertility.

TCM treatment of luteal phase defect – an analysis of 60 cases.

Effects of electro-acupuncture on anovulation in reproductive treatments: a critical review.

Clinical observation on treatment of 43 women with polycystic ovary syndrome based on syndrome differentiation

The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea : a mixed methods study

Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health

The Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Endometriosis: A Review of Utilization and Mechanism

Acupuncture to Treat Primary Dysmenorrhea in Women: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Acupuncture for Dysmenorrhea

Effects of Acupuncture at Sanyinjiao (SP6) on Prostaglandin Levels in Primary Dysmenorrhea Patients

Men’s Health

Success of acupuncture treatment in patients with initially low sperm output is associated with decrease in scrotal skin temperature.

Effects of acupuncture on semen parameters/hormone profile in infertile men’

Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility.

Effect of acupuncture on sperm parameters of males suffering from subfertility related to low sperm quality

Does acupuncture treatment affect sperm density in males with very low sperm count

Influence of acupuncture on idiopathic male infertility in assisted reproductive technology

Effect of acupuncture on in-vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized, perspective controlled clinical trial.

Case study: Improving sperm parameters with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

IVF Support

Changes in serum cortisol and prolactin associated with acupuncture during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation in women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment. 

Influence of acupuncture stimulation on pregnancy rates for women undergoing embryo transfer

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproduction therapy.

Acupuncture on the Day of Embryo Transfer Significantly Improves the Reproductive Outcome in Infertile Women: A Prospective, Randomized Trial. Fertility and Sterility

Effects of “menstrual cycle-based acupuncture therapy” on IVF-ET in patients with decline in ovarian reserve

Impact of whole systems traditional Chinese medicine on in-vitro fertilization outcomes.

A randomized, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study evaluating acupuncture as an adjunct to IVF.

Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilization: systematic review and meta- analysis.

Women’s perceptions of acupuncture in relation to in vitro fertilisation: the body and the mind.

Therapeutic effect of acupuncture on the outcomes of in vitro fertilisation: evaluated by an updated systematic review and meta-analysis.

The impact of acupuncture on IVF success rates: a randomised control trial.

The Effect of Complementary and Alternative Medicine on Subfertile Women with In Vitro Fertilisation

The Role of Acupuncture in Assisted Reproductive Technology

Pregnancy and Labour

Adverse event reporting in studies of penetrating acupuncture during pregnancy: a systematic review

The safety of using acupuncture during pregnancy.

Pregnancy outcome following women’s participation in a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture to treat nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. 

Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised single blind controlled trial.

Treatments for preventing and treating low‐back and pelvic pain during pregnancy.

Moxibustion for correction of breech presentation: a randomized controlled trial.

Influence of acupuncture on duration of labour.

Acupuncture as a method of preparation in obstetrics

Acupuncture for cervical ripening and induction of labour at term – a randomised controlled trial.

Acupuncture For Prebirth Treatment: An Observational Study Of Its Use In Midwifery Practice

Mental & Emotional Health

An introduction to sequential electric acupuncture (SEA) in the treatment of stress related physical and emotional disorders.

Clinical research on the therapeutic effect of the electroacupuncture treatment in patients with depression.

Acupuncture blocks cold stress-induced increases in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis in the rat.

Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review

Acupuncture for Post traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials and Prospective Clinical Trials

Acupuncture ameliorates inflammatory response in a chronic unpredictable stress rat model of depression.

Oxytocin – a possible mediator of anti stress effects induced by acupuncture?

Evidence Based Acupuncture: Anxiety

Respiratory Health

Characteristics Associated with Utilization of Asthma-Related Traditional Chinese Medicine Services among Asthma Children in Taiwan: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Acupuncture for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): A Multicenter, Randomised, Sham-Controlled Trial

The Effectiveness of Acupuncture Compared to Loratadine in Patients Allergic to House Dust Mites


Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Acupuncture for Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Efficacy of Acupuncture for Primary Insomnia: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin secretion and reduces insomnia and anxiety: a preliminary report.

Effects of individualized acupuncture on sleep quality in HIV disease.

The Clinical Effect of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials