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Acupuncture Outperforms These Three Common Drugs

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Written by Chris Maslowski, L.Ac.

When we think about strong medicine, we think about drugs. A sharp headache can be curbed with an over the counter NSAID or Tylenol. Within 15 minutes, that headache will feel better if not gone.

In addition, a common painkiller such as an Opiod will ease intense throbbing body aches. As many of us know, Opiods are unsafe – especially for long term pain. The list of drugs that reduce symptoms goes on and on.

However, with recent and strong research out, there are other treatment options that warrant better and long-standing clinical results. In this blog, we will share three common drugs that Acupuncture outperforms.

Let’s Start with Sleep

As many of us know, Acupuncture is effective for insomnia or trouble sleeping. But to what extent? According to research published by Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, “Acupuncture therapy yielded a 92.9% total effective rate in comparison to Zipiclone – which only achieved a 67.9% improvement rate.”

Plus, the drug in Zopiclone is highly addictive because patients develop a strong dependence and tolerance to it. On the other side, Acupuncture has little if no side effects – just a better night sleep.

Acupuncture Beats Drugs for Knee Arthritis

Research from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine discovered success in treatment of knee arthritis. They compared Acupuncture with Meloxicam (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Meloxicam is the most commonly prescribed NSAID for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. With that, the negative side effects of Meloxicam include stomach ulcers, heartburn and skin rash (just to name a few).

In the study, “Researchers concluded that Acupuncture has a superior effect for knee cartilage repair when compared with Meloxicam.”

Acupuncture Tops Drugs for Back Pain Relief

According the Nanyang Institute of Technology, they concluded that “Acupuncture outperforms Ibuprofen for the relief of acute lower back pain due to lumbar sprain. A six-day follow-up measured a
96.9% total effective rate for the Acupuncture group. The Ibuprofen group achieved a 72.7% total effective rate for the relief of lumbar sprain and associated pain.”

The results were based off complete elimination of the pain in combination with recovery length.


Shao, Yue. “Clinical study on Acupuncture for primary insomnia.” Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 15, no. 6 (201j7): 410-414.

Zhang, X.P., Zhang, Y. L. & Bian, H (2014). Clinical Observation of Treatment on Acute Lumbar Sprain Using Acupuncture and Herbal Fomentation. Chinese Journal of Experimental Traditional Medical Formulae. 20(23).

Zhang Y, Mi Y, Gang J, Wang H. Effects of Warm Needlling Moxibustion on Knee Cartilage and Morphology in Rats with Knee Osteoarthritis. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 2006, Feb; 36(2): 175-9.