Puncturing the myths of acupuncture

J Integr Med. 2016 Sep;14(5):311-4. doi: 10.1016/S2095-4964(16)60269-8.


Acupuncture is a widely practiced system of medicine that has been in place for thousands of years. Consumer interest and use of acupuncture are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, as it is used to treat a multitude of symptoms and disease processes as well as to maintain health and prevent illness. A growing body of evidence increasingly validates the practice of acupuncture. Further developing scientific data will play an important role in the future of acupuncture and other complementary and alternative medicines in public health. Acupuncture is commonly used concurrently with conventional medicine. Although acupuncture is embraced by consumers and medical professionals, misconceptions abound. We have explored and dispelled ten misconceptions common to the practice of acupuncture, utilizing an evidence-based approach. As the trend of merging conventional medical care with acupuncture treatment grows, it is important to develop a conceptual model of integrative medicine. Using a scientific evidence approach will create a structure from which to begin and grow confidence among conventional medical providers. Acupuncture is a safe and effective modality when performed properly by trained professionals. Educating both the consumer and medical community is important to enable appropriate and evidence-based applications of acupuncture and integration with conventional medicine for high-quality patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture / education
  • Acupuncture Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Humans