Skip to main content


Log in

Two Evidence-Based Acupuncture Models

  • Perspective
  • Published:
Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Modern clinical trials have produced controversial data interpretation which refutes conventional standard teachings and practices. Acupuncture scholars and practitioners have been stimulated to scrutinize these trials and analyze conventional practices. This paper presents two acupuncture models which address these issues. One rationalizes the clinical trial results with newer understanding of acupuncture points and techniques, while the other reconciles these results with rediscovered techniques of palpating points and performing needling. These two models indicate that acupuncture is in transition from classical model to evidence-based models.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Diener HC, Kronfeld K, Boewing G, Lungenhausen M, Maier C, Molsberger A, et al. Efficacy of acupuncture for the prophylaxis of migraine: a multicentre randomized controlled clinical trial. Lancet Neurol 2006;5:310–316.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Haake M, Muller HH, Schade-Brittinger C, Basler HD, Schäfer H, Maier C, et al. German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel group trial with 3 groups. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:1892–1898.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Scharf HP, Mansmann U, Streitberger K, Witte S, Krämer J, Maier C, et al. Acupuncture and knee osteoarthritis: a three-armed randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2006;145:12–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Linde K, Streng A, Jurgens S, Hoppe A, Brinkhaus B, Witt C, et al. Acupuncture for patients with migraine: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2005;293:2118–2125.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Brinkhaus B, Witt CM, Jena S, Linder K, Steng A, Wagenpfeil S, et al. Acupuncture in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med 2006;166:450–457.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Melchart D, Streng A, Hoppe A, Brinkhaus B, Witt C, Wagenpfeil S, et al. Acupuncture in patients with tension type headache: randomized controlled trial. BMJ 2005;331:376–382.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. White P, Lewith G, Prescott P, Conway J. Acupuncture versus placebo for the treatment of chronic mechanical neck pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:911–919.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, Erro JH, Ichikawa L, et al. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:858–866.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Suarez-Almazor ME, Looney C, Liu Y, Cox V, Pietz K, Marcus DM, et al. A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee: effects of patient-provider communication. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2010;62:1229–1236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Wu XK, Stener-Victorin E, Kuang HY, Ma HL, Gao JS, Xie LZ, et al. Effect of acupuncture and clomiphene in Chinese women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2017;317:2502–2514.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Endres HG, Bowing G, Diener HC, Lange S, Maier C, Molsberger A, et al. Acupuncture for tension-type headache: a multicentre, sham controlled, patient and observer blinded, randomised trial. J Headache Pain 2007;85:306–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Witt C, Brinkhaus B, Jena S, Linde K, Streng A, Wagenpfeil S, et al. Acupuncture in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized trial. Lancet 2005;366:136–143.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Li YM, Gong CZ. A dialogue on acupuncture development. Chin Med Herald 2019;17:1–6. (Digital version published in 2017)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Li YM. Acupuncture for infertility in polycystic ovary syndrome. JAMA 2017;318:1501–1502.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Leng SH, ed. Meridian counter-stimulation therapy for pain. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House; 2017.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Molsberger AF, Mau J, Pawelec DB, Winkler J. Does acupuncture improve the orthopedic management of chronic low back pain—a randomized, blinded, controlled trial with 3 months follow up. Pain 2002;99:579–587.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chang-zhen Gong.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gong, Cz., Liu, W. Two Evidence-Based Acupuncture Models. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 26, 3–7 (2020).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: