Clinical trials performed in the preceding years have proved the effectiveness of acupuncture in treatment of numerous medical conditions, and trials in basic disciplines extend the knowledge concerning mechanisms of activity of this fascinating treatment method. In the process of making conscious decisions concerning treatment, apart from efficiency and understanding mechanisms of activity of a given method, its safety is the vital aspect as well.
Researchers performing controlled clinical trials observe various aspects of health of their patients, they also make notes and report any adverse events related to applied medications, drugs or medical interventions. The same process is applied to trials on acupuncture. According to the protocols of clinical trials, in the course of follow up, lasting from several months to several years, all the adverse events are reported, both connected and not connected with the treatment. Data collected in this way may be further used for the safety analysis. However, the data systematically obtained in accordance with the protocol of controlled clinical trials must be differentiated from anecdotic description of cases, the scientific value of which is minor. These first ones are subject to rigorous procedures of reporting, in which the intensity of symptom is specified, time of its duration, results, as well as its relation with the applied treatment. The second group consists of descriptions of clinical events which drew the particular attention of practitioners. Their contents is based exclusively on personal beliefs and experiences of their authors, so they have no meaningful scientific value.