||OBJECTIVE: To study the effects of acupuncture on Chinese medicine syndromes of vascular dementia (VaD). METHODS: Sixty-three VaD patients were divided into three groups. Those willing to be randomized were randomly assigned to receive either acupuncture (random acupuncture group, 24 cases) or rehabilitation training (guided rehabilitation group, 24 cases) for 6 weeks. Those unwilling to be randomized also received acupuncture for 6 weeks (non-random acupuncture group, 19 cases). Patient syndromes and their severity were evaluated before treatment (baseline), at the end of treatment, and at 4-week follow-up after the completion of treatment using a CM scoring system (scale of differentiation of syndromes of vascular dementia, SDSVD). The SDSVD scores of the random and non-random acupuncture groups, and of all patients who received acupuncture (combined acupuncture group, 43 cases), were compared with those in the guided rehabilitation group. RESULTS: In the random, non-random, and combined acupuncture groups, SDSVD scores were significantly reduced at the end of treatment and at follow-up than at baseline. In the guided rehabilitation group, SDSVD scores were similar to baseline scores at the end of treatment and at follow-up. However, there were no significant differences in SDSVD scores among the three groups or between the combined acupuncture group and the guided rehabilitation group at any time points. In the non-random and combined acupuncture groups, SDSVD scores were significantly reduced at the end of treatment than at baseline in patients with hyperactivity of Liver (Gan)-yang or phlegm obstruction of the orifices. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture reduced the severity of VaD. The improvement was the greatest in patients undergoing their treatment of choice. Treatments in this study were more effective for excess syndromes, such as Liver-yang hyperactivity or phlegm obstruction of the orifices than deficiency syndromes, such as Kidney (Shen)-essence deficiency.