Acupuncture may be used as:
1. a therapeutic intervention including rehabilitation; and
2. a preventive and health maintenance intervention.
In this context, clinical research in acupuncture may be conducted to help guide:
1. practitioners in their choice of treatment;
2. the patient in deciding whether to choose acupuncture as a mode of treatment; and
3. health care policy-makers in their decisions.
Clinical research in acupuncture may also benefit other health professionals and the scientific community, as research in acupuncture may provide important heuristics for their works.
Selection of research projects
Research projects should be selected with due consideration for several factors in addition to scientific interest, such as the potential value of research results for improving the health of the community, with regard to the local prevalence of disease. The scientific acceptability of the project and the feasibility of using alternatives should be considered. An evaluation may be carried out to provide new scientific evidence for traditional experience. It may also be conducted to validate new indications of acupuncture points or new combinations of points. A comparative study on the effectiveness of different points or groups of points may also be conducted. Various needling techniques may be analysed to compare their efficacy.