Medical Research

Acupuncture Research Review for Pain Management

Kristen Sparrow • March 23, 2024

The study, “Global Trends of Acupuncture Clinical Research on Analgesia from 2010 to 2023: A Bibliometric and Visualization Analysis,” presents an in-depth bibliometric analysis of acupuncture analgesia research over a thirteen-year period. This analysis is designed to map the evolution, current state, and future directions of acupuncture in pain anagement, providing valuable insights for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers alike.  (The above links to an article on acupuncture and inflammation)

Key Findings:

  1. Growth of Literature: The study found a consistent increase in publications related to acupuncture for analgesia, with a total of 7190 relevant studies identified, demonstrating growing interest and research activity in this area.
  2. Geographical and Institutional Contributions: China and the United States were the leading contributors to the field, with significant contributions also coming from South Korea, England, Australia, and Canada. Notably, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine was the most prolific institution, highlighting the central role of Chinese institutions in acupuncture research.
  3. Authorship and Collaboration: The analysis revealed key authors and collaborative networks, with Liang FR identified as the most prolific author. Despite a diverse authorship, the study noted limited international collaboration, suggesting potential for greater cross-border research partnerships.
  4. Publication Outlets: A wide range of journals have published on this topic, with “Medicine” being the most productive journal. However, the impact factors of journals in this field vary, and there is a call for more high-quality studies to be published in journals with higher impact.
  5. Research Focus and Trends: The study identified several hotspots and frontier research areas within acupuncture analgesia, including network meta-analysis, case reports, dry needling, and specific conditions like lumbar disc herniation and insomnia. These findings indicate diverse and evolving research interests in the field.
  6. Methodological Trends: The substantial number of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews reflects a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice and the pursuit of robust clinical evidence to support acupuncture’s efficacy in pain management.
  7. Future Directions: The study suggests a need for enhanced international collaboration to increase research output and influence. It also highlights the importance of exploring new research areas and methodologies to further understand and establish acupuncture’s role in analgesia.


This bibliometric analysis underscores the dynamic and expanding nature of acupuncture research in the domain of analgesia from 2010 to 2023. By mapping the landscape of research outputs, collaborations, and thematic focuses, the study offers a comprehensive overview that can guide future research priorities and clinical applications in the field of acupuncture for pain management. The findings advocate for more collaborative efforts and high-quality research to enrich the evidence base and integrate acupuncture more effectively into global health practices for pain management.