Background: Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), acupuncture has been widely used in the treatment of COVID-19. The research community has responded rapidly and has already published many research articles about this topic.
Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library as well as CNKI, Wanfang and VIP from January 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021. The dates of publication, language of publication, methodological characteristics and the key findings were analyzed separately. The data are presented as bar graphs, structured tables and figures.
Results: In this scoping review, 16 research articles were included: 7 case reports, 6 observational studies, 1 review, 1 RCT and 1 nonrandomized clinical trial. The majority of the articles (81.3%) were published by Chinese scholars, 12.5% articles were by scholars in the United States, and 6.3% articles were by scholars in Iran. The included studies reported that acupuncture could alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19 patients, shorten their hospitalization days, and is effective for the elderly. There were no side effects reported. The most frequent acupoints used were LI4, PC6, ST36 and KI3. They reported many obstacles in implementing acupuncture therapy for treating COVID-19 patients.
Conclusion: Acupuncture has a good effect for the treatment of COVID-19, but high-quality evidence support is still lacking. Coupled with the difficulties that acupuncturists experienced during the process of treatment, the promotion of acupuncture treatment for COVID-19 faces many obstacles.
Keywords: Acupuncture; COVID-19; Scoping review.
© 2021 Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no conflict of interest.