The positive effects of acupuncture on exertional dyspnoea in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with improved oxygen utilisation during exercise. In a Japanese study, 16 patients with COPD underwent acupuncture once a week for 12 weeks. Eleven standardised acupuncture points were selected according to previous research: Zhongfu LU-1,Taiyuan LU-9, Futu L.I.-18, Guanyuan REN-4, Zhongwan REN-12, Zusanli ST-36, Taixi KID-3, Wangu GB-12, Feishu BL-13, Pishu BL-20 and Shenshu BL-23. During the course of the 12-week treatment, significant improvements in exercise performance parameters were observed. These included increases in peak oxygen uptake and minute ventilation (volume of gas inhaled/exhaled per minute) during exercise tests. At 12 weeks, exercise endurance time was found to be significantly increased and oxygen uptake at termination of exercise significantly lower compared with baseline. Improvements in perceived exertion scores were also observed during exercise tests after acupuncture treatment.