A brief course of acupuncture is effective for reducing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in military veterans, according to a study carried out in the USA. Fifty-five service members meeting diagnostic criteria for PTSD were randomised to usual PTSD care (UPC) plus eight 60-minute sessions of acupuncture conducted twice weekly, or to UPC alone. Mean improvement in PTSD severity was significantly greater among those receiving acupuncture than in those receiving UPC. Acupuncture was also associated with significantly greater improvements in depression, pain and physical and mental health functioning. Pre-post effect-sizes for these outcomes were large and robust. (Randomized effectiveness trial of a brief course of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder. Med Care. 2014 Dec;52 Suppl 5:S57-64).

Current evidence supports the use of acupuncture to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a systematic review of studies of complementary and alternative medicine treatments. American authors reviewed 33 studies (n=1329) that assessed PTSD outcomes after a variety of CAM interventions. Evidence of benefit for PTSD was judged to be good for acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation and visualisation. (Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Systematic Review. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2014 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print]). http:/ /www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed / 24676593