An evaluation of acupuncture’s health and economic effectiveness

Source: The American Acupuncturist, Fall 2009

In their economic evaluation of acupuncture, the American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine analyzes the role of perspective on medical decisions, conducts an economic analysis of acupuncture and explores the effectiveness of acupuncture.
They identify several factors involved in a patient’s decision to seek Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments, including “a desire to participate in one’s own care, dissatisfaction with or ineffectiveness of conventional therapy, a desire to avoid side effects or complications of conventional therapy, and belief in a holistic versus reductionist view of health and disease.”
Their evaluation sites large clinical trials between 1999 and 2009 that collectively suggest that acupuncture treatment is not only beneficial to various disease states (including musculoskeletal pain, angina pectoris, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, low back pain and neck pain) but is also cost effective when compared to traditional therapies.
The authors conclude that in our current “'justify or die' climate of modern medicine," all fields of health care, but especially CAM therapies, need to justify their role in health care delivery. They urge future researches to include an economic evaluation of treatment alongside any future high-quality clinical trials on acupuncture.