Getting to the point of… the research and evidence

Getting to the point of… the research and evidence

By British Acupuncture Council


Awareness of acupuncture’s effectiveness 

Many people want to know, ‘Does acupuncture work? How does acupuncture work?’

Research and evidence are vital in order to increase awareness of acupuncture’s effectiveness and to ensure a wider acceptance of its use within our healthcare system.

For many years, there was a lack of good quality research into acupuncture. This made it difficult for scientists to evaluate the potential benefits of acupuncture. The situation is beginning to change and, in the last couple of decades, high-quality large-scale clinical trials have been conducted and the evidence base for acupuncture is now growing. This has resulted in a large, systematic review of over 20,000 patients by an international team of researchers and we can now be confident that those suffering from back pain, osteoarthritis and headache can benefit from a course of acupuncture [1]

Positive Research 

As more research is conducted, for other conditions is growing. There is now evidence of a potential positive for conditions such as depression, irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal hot flushes, allergic rhinitis, asthma and cancer related fatigue [2].

Currently National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for treatment of primary chronic pain, tension type headaches and migraines. But acupuncture is also used by those with other musculoskeletal pain, digestive and women’s health issues, as well as mental health conditions, with clinical evidence on its effectiveness emerging all the time.

ARRC Symposium

Our annual research symposium coincides with The BAcC Annual Conference. It aims to serve registered acupuncturists and others by providing good quality information on research into acupuncture. Offering solely research-based content, the event also provides an opportunity for BAcC funded research to be presented. Each year, we welcome a host of wonderful speakers, many of whom are BAcC members and this year is no different.

ARRC Symposium

Understanding the research

Understanding and interpreting research can be difficult – there are specific challenges when researching physical therapies such as acupuncture. If you are not familiar with the debates regarding acupuncture research, we would recommend you visit the research pages on our website to read more on this subject.

Helpful resources

The Scope of Acupuncture

This report introduces how acupuncture is being used to meet the healthcare challenge of today, offering real world examples of projects that support people with a wide variety of conditions, including evidence for safety and clinical effectiveness.


Our ‘Evidence A-Z’ factsheets on the BAcC website have been produced to provide accurate and unbiased general information for a variety of conditions.

Acutrack podcast

Whether you’re an acupuncture practitioner, researcher or student, doctor or other type of healthcare practitioner, or maybe even a curious patient, the Acutrack team discusses all the latest evidence and research in the field of acupuncture. Speaking to some of the world’s leading experts, many of whom are BAcC members, this podcast talks about the latest studies and the most exciting new findings. Curious to understand how acupuncture works? Well look/listen no further.. check out Episode #5 with Mel Hopper Koppelman.

Further resources

·        Cochrane Library

·        John Hopkins University

·        The evidence map of acupuncture

·        Evidence-based acupuncture

·        The Acupuncture Evidence Project

Acupuncture Awareness Week 2023
March 2023


[1] A.J. Vickers, E.A. Vertosick, G. Lewith, H. MacPherson, N.E. Foster, K.J. Sherman, D. Irnich, C.M. Witt, K. Linde, C. Acupuncture Trialists, Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis, J Pain 19(5) (2018) 455-474.

[2] J. McDonald, S. Janz, The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review, Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association LTD, 2017.

Traditional Acupuncture at Southwell Acupuncture Clinic

Hannah Charles Lic Ac MBAcC is a founder member of the British Acupuncture Council, believes that safe and proffessional Traditional Acupuncture is a priority. Treating each patient holistically and individually with the background of research and evidence of effectiveness

For infomation and treatment contact Hannah on:

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