The National Institutes of Health recently recommended further research on the efficacy of acupuncture and allocated Federal funds to stimulate clinical studies. Their decision was based on a growing body of successful research outcomes in which acupuncture was used in the treatment of acute and chronic pain, nausea, circulatory functions, and mood-related behavioral disorders. Despite a burgeoning body of clinical research, the ability to generalize findings has been affected by design flaws, sample type and size, and multiple methods of acupuncture site stimulation. Complicating the communication of findings is use of the term acupuncture when other strategies are used to stimulate the point, such as electrical probes and low-intensity laser. A more appropriate term for acupuncture is meridian therapy, because it encompasses all methods used to treat an acupoint. The purpose of this article is to define meridian therapy with a focus on current clinical perspectives, to review research outcomes in areas important to the care of critically ill patients, to identify issues related to the application of meridian therapy in the clinical arena, and to elaborate practitioner preparation and licensure requirements.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.