Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy method that is also frequently used in the western world. It has been the subject of intensive scientific research over the past two decades.
To describe the efficacy, therapy safety, and health economic relevance of acupuncture for chronic pain disorders and allergic diseases.
In the context of a review (narrative review) the relevant literature was selected, presented, and interpreted.
Acupuncture is effective in chronic pain disorders such as chronic knee joint pain in osteoarthritis, migraine, tension headache, chronic lumbar spine pain, chronic cervical spine pain, shoulder pain, dysmenorrhea, and fibromyalgia under routine conditions. In addition, specific efficacy is shown in most chronic pain indications. Acupuncture is also effective in patients with allergic diseases. In large clinical studies, acupuncture has proven to be a relatively safe therapy, but severe complications (e.g. pneumothorax cases, hepatitis B) also occur in rare instances. Acupuncture is usually associated with higher therapy costs, but is considered a cost-effective treatment strategy for pain disorders.
As a nonpharmacological procedure, acupuncture is becoming increasingly important in pain and allergy therapy and is therefore increasingly included in current guidelines. In further studies, the efficacy of acupuncture should be determined in other indications and the mechanisms of action of this therapy method should be investigated.