In a controlled trial (Zhang et al.), acupuncture was compared with the therapeutic benefits of physical therapy. The MRIs demonstrate that acupuncture improves cartilage in the knee region. Physical therapy did not stimulate cartilage repair. Pain, stiffness, and physical functioning improved with both therapies. However, acupuncture significantly outperformed physical therapy across all three WOMAC indices (pain, stiffness, and physical functioning).