WHO list

The World Health Organization (WHO), whose authority concerning health-related matters internationally cannot be challenged, has compiled a list of symptoms, syndromes, disease processes, pathologies, traumas and conditions that have definitely been proven as effectively treated by acupuncture. The WHO has also compiled a list of diseases, symptoms and conditions for which acupuncture has shown definite therapeutic effects, but more proof is needed to establish acupuncture as a mainstream form of treatment. Should a curious patient, insurance company or colleague require proof of acupuncture’s effectiveness, the following list is something you will want to keep on file. Its use will be inevitable.

In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:


Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved through clinical trials to be an effective treatment:
  • Respiratory: allergic rhinitis
  • Gastrointestinal: biliary colic, dysentery, epigastralgia (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis and gastrospasm), morning sickness, nausea and vomiting
  • Pain: facial pain, headache, knee pain, low back pain, neck pain, dental and temporomandibular pain, periarthritis of the shoulder, postoperative pain, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, sprain, tennis elbow
  • Gynaecological/renal: colic, primary dysmenorrhoea, induction of labour, correction of malposition of fetus
  • Cardiovascular: hypertension, hypotension, stroke, depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  • General: adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, leukopenia


Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown, but further proof is needed:
  • Respiratory: asthma, post-extubation in children, whooping cough
  • Ear, nose, and throat, eye and mouth: eye pain, epistaxis (nose bleeds), herpes zoster, Menier’s disease, sore throat, Sjogren syndrome
  • Gastrointestinal: cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, gastrokinetic disturbance,
    hepatitis B carrier status, ulcerative colitis
  • Neurolo-psychiatric: anxiety, Bell’s palsy, depression, facial spasm, neuralgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, dementia, schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome
  • Pain: abdominal pain, cancer pain, earache, fibromyalgia, gouty arthritis, osteoarthritis, radicular pain, spinal pain, pain due to endoscopic examination, stiff neck, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, Tietze syndrome
  • Skin: acne vulgaris, neurodermatitis, pruritus
  • Gynaecological/renal: female infertility, female urethral syndrome, hypoovarianism, labour pain, overactive bladder, polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, urinary tract infections
  • Male sexual dysfunction: prostatitis, , bladder infections, recurrent lower urinary tract infection, urolithiasis, retention of urine
  • Cardiovascular: cardiac neurosis, hyperlipidemia, pain in thromboangiitis, Raynaud’s syndrome
  • General: alcohol dependence, competition stress syndrome, craniocerebral injury, diabetes (non-insulin dependent), haemorrhagic fever, obesity, insomnia, lactation deficiency, opium, cocaine and heroin, dependence, post operative convalescence, tobacco dependence