Research: ERNST, Department of C

Listed in Issue 37


ERNST, Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, UK writes in his review (35 references) that acupuncture is a popular complementary treatment for osteoarthritis . The author conducted a systematic review of the literature in order to define its therapeutic effectiveness .



Independent literature searches identified 11 studies of acupuncture for osteoarthritis.


The results from these studies were highly contradictory and most trials suffered from methodological flaws . The most rigorous studies suggested that acupuncture was not superior to sham-needling with regard to reduction of pain from osteoarthritis .


These results could indicate that either sham-needling has similar specific effects as acupuncture or that both methods produce considerable non-specific effects. Further research is required in order to clarify these results.


Ernst E. Acupuncture as a symptomatic treatment of osteoarthritis. A systematic review. Scand J Rheumatol 26(6): 444-7. 1997.

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