The therapeutic effectiveness of classic Chinese acupuncture was compared with "placebo" acupuncture in 15 patients with stable bronchial asthma. The patients received treatments with real and placebo acupuncture in a randomly ordered, subject and evaluator-blind crossover fashion twice weekly for five weeks. Both real and placebo treatment periods were preceded by three week periods when no acupuncture was administered. Five patients felt better on real treatment, five patients preferred placebo and five did not feel any improvement on either of the two treatments. Treatment with real acupuncture when compared with no treatment and placebo treatment failed to provide any improvement in daily peak flow rates, asthma symptom scores, number of puffs of beta 2-agonist aerosol use, and pulmonary function results.