Acupuncture | Women's Health | The Research

Women's Health the research

Acupuncture IVF support


  • Qian 2015 (RR of 30 RCT’s & MA): Acupuncture improve clinical pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF. Optimal positive effects were seen when Acupuncture was used during controlled ovarian hyper stimulation (1)
  • Manheimer 2013 (SR & MA of 16 RCT): Insufficient evidence (2)
  • Jo 2017 (SR of 4 RCT’s & MA): Acupuncture may increase the clinical pregnancy rate and ongoing pregnancy rates and decrease ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome in women with PCOS undergoing IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (3)
  • Cheong 2013 (Cochrane SR of 20 RTC’s): No evidence that Acupuncture improves live birth or pregnancy rates in ART regardless of whether performed around the time of oocyte retrieval or embryo transfer (4)
  • Shen 2015 (SR & MA): Acupuncture ineffective when used only on the day of oocyte retrieval but effective when used at follicle phase and 25 mins before and after embryo transfer (5).




  • Chen et al, 2013 (MA of 3 acupuncture and 4 acupressure RCT’s): Acupuncture is effective and acupressure may be effective for pain relief; acupuncture trials had low to moderate risk of bias; acupressure trials had a high risk of bias (6)
  • Xu 2014 (MA of 20 RCT’s of acupoint stimulation): Acupoint stimulation superior to controls for pain relief; low to moderate quality evidence (7)
  • Abaraogu 2015 (SR of 8 RCT’s and MA of 4 RCT’s): Acupuncture and acupressure vs placebo, waitlist or medication reduced pain intensity, while acupuncture also improved physical and mental aspects of QoL; moderate quality evidence (8)
  • Smith 2016 (Cochrane update): Insufficient evidence; low to very low quality evidence (9)
  • Kim 2012: Acupuncture is cost effective for dysmenorrhea, allergic rhinitis, osteoarthritis and headache (10)


Menopausal Hot Flushes


  • Chiu 2015 (Ma of 12 studies; 2 high quality, 8 moderate and 2 low); Acupuncture improves hot flush frequency and severity, menopause-related symptoms, and QoL (vasomotor domain) in natural menopause (11)
  • Selva Ovid 2013 (Review of 8 SR’s and 9 RCT’s); Promising results; low quality evidence (12)
  • Dodin 2013 (Cochrane SR of 16 RCt’s); Acupuncture superor to no treatment or wait list, Acupuncture superior to sham in reducing severity but not frequency, Acupuncture inferior to hormone therapy (13)
  • Chen 2016 (SR of 12 RCT’s); Seems to be effective (14)


Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Sleep disturbance


  • Chiu 2016 (SR of 34 RCT’s; 4 high quality); Significant reduction in sleep disturbance which appears to be associated with changes in serum estradiol, FSH, and LH; Acupuncture recommended as an adjunct therapy in improving sleep disturbances in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women (15)
  • Bezerra 2015 (SR of 7 RCT’s; 4 high quality; no studies with high risk bias); Improved sleep quality; limited evidence; moderate to high quality evidence (16)


Back Pain in Pregnancy


  • Selva Olid 2013 (Review of 8 SRs and 9 RCTs): Promising results; low quality evidence (17)
  • Close 2014 (SR of 8 RCTs on CAM; 2 acupuncture RCTs with low risk of bias): Clinically important and statistically significant changes (18)
  • Liddle 2015 (Cochrane SR: Comparison of interventions 26 RCTs – 7 acupuncture RCTs): Moderate quality evidence showed that acupuncture or exercise, tailored to the stage of pregnancy, significantly reduced evening pelvic or lumbo-pelvic pain. Acupuncture superior to exercise for reducing evening pelvic pain; Both acupuncture and exercise were superior to usual care; Insufficient evidence (19)


Induction of Labour


  • Smith 2013 (Cochrane SR of 14 RCTs): Insufficient evidence; included studies ranged from high to low quality evidence (18)
  • Mollart 2015 (SR of 7 RCTS): Acupuncture may reduce the duration of labour especially the first stage; insufficient evidence (19)


Labour Pain


  • Levett 2014 (Critical narrative review of SRs): Acupuncture & acupressure promising – Conflicting results due to heterogeneity in study designs, research questions, treatment protocols and outcomes measures (20)


Nausea in Pregnancy


  • Matthews 2015 (Cochrane SR of interventions for nausea in pregnancy; 2 RCTs on acupuncture): No significant difference between real and sham acupuncture; low quality evidence (21)


Hyperemesis in Pregnancy


  • Boelig 2016 (SR of interventions – 1 acupuncture study): Insufficient evidence to identify clear differences between acupuncture and metoclopramide; very low quality evidence (22)


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome


  • Ren 2014 (SR & MA of 31 studies): Acupuncture may be effective; low quality evidence (23)
  • Lim 2016 (Cochrane SR of 5 RCTs): Insufficient evidence; low to very low quality evidence (24)


Uterine Fibroids


  • Dalton-Brewer 2016 (Narrative review of CAM): Acupuncture may be a treatment option as part of a CAM treatment approach (25)



  1. Qian Y, Via XR, Ochin H, Huang C, Gao C, Gao Y. (2016). Therapeutic effect of Acupuncture on the outcomes of in-vitro fertilisation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gyneol Obstet Invest; 79 (1): 1-12
  2. Manheimer E, Van De Windr D, Cheng K, Stafford K, Liu J, Et Al. (2013). The effects of acupuncture on rates of clinical pregnancy amount women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod Update Nov-Dec; 19 (6): 696-713
  3. Jo J, Lee YJ (2017). Effectiveness of Acupuncture in women with polycystic ovaries undergoing in-vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. Jan 11
  4. Cheong YC, Dix D, Hung Yu Ng E, Ledger WL, Frquhar C (2013). Acupuncture and assisted reproductive technology. Cochrane Database cyst rev. (7): Cd006920
  5. Shen C, Wu M, Shu D, Zhao X, Gao Y. (2015). The role of Acupuncture in vitro fertilisation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 79 (1):1-12
  6. Chen HM, Chen HC (2004). Effects of acupressure at the sanyinjiao point on primary dysmenorrhea, J Adv Nurs. Nov; 48 (4): 380-7
  7. Xu T, Hui L, Juan YL, Min SG, Hua WT. (2014). Effects of moxibustion or acupoint therapy for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a meta-anylsis. Altern There Health Med. July-Aug; 20 (4): 33-42
  8. Abaraogu UO, Tabansi-Ochugu CS. (2015) As acupressure decreases pain, Acupuncture may improve some quality of life for women with primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review with meta-anylsis. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. Oct; 8 (5): 220-8
  9. Smith CA, Armour M, Zhu X, Li X, Lu ZY, Song J. (2016) Acupuncture for dysmenorrhea. Cochrane database cyst rev. 4:Cd007854
  10. Kim SY, Lee H, Chai Y, Park HJ. (2012) A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analysis alongside random controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. Dec; 30 (4): 273-85
  11. Chiu HY, Pan CH, Shyu YK, Han BC, Tsai PS (2015). Effects of Acupuncture on Menopause and quality of life in women in natural menopause: a meta-analysis of randomized control trials. Menopause Feb 22 (2): 234-44
  12. Selva Ovid A, Martinex Zapata MJ, Sola I, Stojanovic Z, Uriona Tuma SM, Bonfill Corp X (2013). Efficacy and safety of Needle Acupuncture for treating Gyncologic and obstetric disorders: An overview. Med Acupunct. Dec 1; 25 (6): 386-97
  13. Dodin S, Blanchet C, Marc I, Ernst E, Wu T, Vailancourt C, et al (2013). Acupuncture for Menopause hot flushes. Cochrane database system Rev. (7): Cd007410
  14. Chen YP, Liu T, Peng YY, Wang YP, Chen H, Fan YF, et al (2016). Acupuncture for women with hot flushes in women with breast cancer: A systematic review. J Cancer Res Ther. Apr-Jun; 12 (2) 535-44
  15. Chiu HY, Hsieh Yj, Tsai Ps. (2015). Acupuncture to reduce sleep disturbances in perimenopausal and post menopausal women; A systematic review and meta-anylsis. Obstet Gynecol. Mar; 127 (3) 507-15
  16. Bezerra Ag, Pires GN, Anderson ML, Tufik S, Hachul H (2015). Acupuncture to treat sleep disorders in postmenopausal women; A systematic review. Evidence Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015; 563236
  17. Selvid Olid A, Martinez Zapata MJ, Sola I, Stojanovic Z, Uriona Tuma SM, Bonfill Corp X (2013). Efficacy and safety of Needle Acupuncture for treating Gyncologic and obstetric disorders: An overview. Med Acupunct. Dec 1; 25 (6): 386-97
  18. Close C, Sinclair M, Liddle SD, Madden E, McCullough JE, Hughes C. A systematic review investigating the effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for the management of low back and/or pelvic pain (LBPP) in pregnancy. J Adv Nurs. 2014 Aug;70(8):1702-16
  19. Liddle SD, Pennick V. Interventions for preventing and treating low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015(9):Cd001139
  20. Levett KM, Smith CA, Dahlen HG, Bensoussan A. Acupuncture and acupressure for pain management in labour and birth: a critical narrative review of current systematic review evidence. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Jun;22(3):523-40
  21. Matthews A, Haas DM, O’Mathuna DP, Dowswell T. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015(9):Cd007575
  22. Boelig RC, Barton SJ, Saccone G, Kelly AJ, Edwards SJ, Berghella V. Interventions for treating hyperemesis gravidarum. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(5):Cd010607
  23. Ren LN, Guo LH, Ma WZ, Zhang R. [A meta-analysis on acupuncture treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome]. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2014 Jun;39(3):238-46.
  24. Lim CE, Ng RW, Xu K, Cheng NC, Xue CC, Liu JP, et al. Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(5):Cd007689
  25. Dalton-Brewer N. The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Management of Fibroids and Associated Symptomatology. Curr Obstet Gynecol Rep. 2016;5:110-8.