This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
While scores of illnesses have traditionally been treated by acupuncture in Asia, its primary use in the United States has been to relieve chronic pain--caused by such ailments as arthritis, headache, PMS, and back pain--and to assist withdrawal from addictions such as drug and alcohol dependency. Today more innovative applications for acupuncture are being explored by both conventional and alternative practitioners, including its use as an analgesic to reduce pain during surgery.
In 1997, an advisory panel for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) evaluated hundreds of acupuncture studies and concluded that the therapy is an effective treatment for postoperative pain after dental surgery and for nausea induced by chemotherapy, pregnancy ("morning sickness"), and anaesthesia. The NIH panel also called acupuncture a useful adjunct and acceptable treatment for a variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia, stroke rehabilitation, headache, and carpal tunnel syndrome.