||BACKGROUND: Ischemic stroke is the second most common cause of death and the primary cause of disability throughout the world. Acupuncture is frequently advocated as an adjunct treatment during stroke rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to update the clinical efficacy and safety of acupuncture for cerebral infarction. METHODS: Randomized controlled trials (RCT) on acupuncture treating cerebral infarction were searched from the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CNKI, CMB and VIP from inception to October 2013. The data of RCTs meeting the inclusive criteria were extracted according to Cochrane methods. The meta-analyses were conducted using Rev Man 5.0 software. RESULTS: A total of 25 trials involving 2224 patients were included. The results of this meta-analysis showed that the groups receiving acupuncture (observation group) were superior to the comparison groups (control group), with significant differences in the Clinical Efficacy Rates [OR = 4.04, 95%CI (2.93, 5.57), P<0.001], Fugl-Meyer Assessment [MD = 11.22, 95%CI (7.62, 14.82), P<0.001], Barthel Index Score [MD = 12.84, 95%CI (9.85, 15.82), P<0.001], and Neurological Deficit Score [MD = -2.71, 95% CI (-3.84, -1.94), P<0.001]. Three trials reported minor adverse events. CONCLUSION: Current evidence provisionally demonstrates that acupuncture treatment is superior to either non-acupuncture or conventional therapy for cerebral infarction. Despite this conclusion, given the often low quality of the available trials, further large scale RCTs of better quality are still needed.