The effects of therapeutic acupuncture on gastric acid secretion on pain relief in chronic duodenal ulcer patients were studied. Ten adult Nigerian patients with clinical, endoscopic as well as radiological evidence of duodenal ulcer constituted the "Ulcer Group." Four other patients who gave history of dyspepsia formed the "Dyspeptic Group." Pentagastrin stimulation test was performed on all subjects pre- and post-acupuncture therapy. The classical Chinese acupuncture loci were employed. The mean Basal Acid Output (BAO) in the duodenal ulcer group was markedly reduced from 4.04 +/- 1.01 mMols/hour to 1.05 +/- 2.5 mMols/hour. The mean Maximal Acid Output (MAO) was lowered from 34.72 +/- 13.81 mMols/hour to 15.34 +/- 4.01 mMols/hour. The difference was statistically significant (P less than 0.001). It is more probable, therefore, that the relief of pain is attributable to the therapeutic inhibition of gastric hyperacidity in our patients. Thus, though pain relief has been previously demonstrated in response to acupuncture, the results of this investigation have gone further to show that acupunture achieves symptomatic relief through therapeutic gastric depression in duodenal ulcer patients.