Acupuncture in primary care

Prim Care. 2010 Mar;37(1):105-17. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2009.09.010.


Acupuncture, an ancient traditional Chinese medical therapy, is used widely around the world. When practiced by a certified provider, it is safe and patients often find it calming and relaxing. Animal and human studies have found a physiologic basis for acupuncture needling in that it affects the complex central and peripheral neurohormonal network. Although it is unclear whether acupuncture is beneficial over sham/placebo acupuncture, acupuncture care yields clinically relevant short- and long-term benefits for low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, chronic neck pain, and headache. The integration of acupuncture into a primary care setting also appears to be cost-effective. The practice of acupuncture in primary care requires rigorous training, financial discipline, and good communication skills. When done correctly, acupuncture is beneficial for both patients and providers.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Headache / therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine*
  • Low Back Pain / therapy
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy
  • Neck Pain / therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy
  • Pain Management*