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Acupuncture and related techniques are increasingly practiced in conventional medical settings, and the number of patients willing to use these techniques is increasing. Despite more than 30 yr of research, the exact mechanism of action and efficacy of acupuncture have not been established. Furthermore, most aspects of acupuncture have yet to be adequately tested. Therefore, considerable controversy remains about the role of acupuncture in clinical medicine. Acupuncture apparently does not reduce volatile anesthetic requirement by a clinically important amount. However, preoperative sedation seems to be a promising application of acupuncture in perioperative settings. Acupuncture may be effective for postoperative pain relief but requires a high level of expertise by the acupuncture practitioner. Acupuncture and related techniques can be used for treatment and prophylaxis of postoperative nausea and vomiting in routine clinical practice in combination with or as an alternative to conventional antiemetics when administered before induction of general anesthesia.