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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2 (2005), Issue 3, Pages 325-352

The Practice of Korean Medicine: An Overview of Clinical Trials in Acupuncture

1Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Oriental Medicine, Kangnam Korean Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
2Department of Oriental Medical Science, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Seoul, Republic of Korea
3Department of Meridian and Acupuncture, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
4Natural Products Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
5Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea

Received 26 January 2005; Accepted 4 April 2005

Copyright © 2005 Yong-Suk Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Acupuncture, one of the Oriental medical therapeutic techniques that can be traced back at least 2500 years, is growing in popularity all over the world. Korea has continued to develop its own unique tradition of medicine throughout its long history, and has formed different types of acupuncture methods. The purpose of this review is to summarize clinical case studies in acupuncture and related therapies, such as acupressure, electric acupuncture, auricular acupuncture and moxibustion in Korea. A survey of Korean journals revealed that a total of 124 studies were published from 1983 to 2001. Results obtained from the survey showed that most clinical studies using acupuncture, electric acupuncture, moxibustion and other traditional therapies could alleviate a relatively broad range of medical problems. However, it should be emphasized that almost all clinical case studies published in various local journals did not follow the ‘good clinical practice’ with respect to regulatory aspects. Since they were not conducted using the randomized double-blinded controls with a large sample size, all the results should be considered as therapeutic indications. This review is an attempt to show the scope of acupuncture in our country and the kind of diseases, after many years of clinical experience, that were deemed valid targets for clinical trials.