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Common uses of acupuncture

There is no one health condition or set of conditions that acupuncture is meant to treat.

Instead, acupuncturists use the treatment for an extremely wide range of health conditions.

The use of acupuncture is not always based on scientific evidence. This means that practitioners may use acupuncture to treat a certain health condition, even though there have not been scientific trials showing that acupuncture works for that condition. For more information about the evidence on acupuncture and specific health conditions, see evidence for acupuncture.

Sometimes, patients combine acupuncture with conventional treatments that have been prescribed by a GP or hospital consultant. If you are being treated by an acupuncturist for a health condition, it is advisable to discuss this with your GP.



The current status of conditions that can be treated via the NHS and recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are:  lower back pain, migraine and tension type headaches.


Other common uses

Although not currently recommended by NICE or The Department of Health,

Acupuncture is often used to treat musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:

  • headache and migraine

  • chronic pain, including neck and back pain

  • joint pain

  • dental pain

  • post-operative pain


      Some acupuncturists use acupuncture to treat a far wider range of conditions, including:

  • post-operative nausea and vomiting

  • allergies, including hay fever and eczema

  • fatigue

  • depression and anxiety

  • digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • infertility and menstrual disorders

  • insomnia



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