On November 8-9, 2007, the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) hosted an international conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the landmark NIH [National Institutes of Health] Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture. More than 300 acupuncture researchers, practitioners, students, funding agency personnel, and health policy analysts from 20 countries attended the SAR meeting held at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. This paper summarizes important invited lectures in the area of how the field has developed in the past decade, along with a focus on appropriate strategies for advancing the field. Specific topics include: the impact of the 1997 NIH Acupuncture Consensus Conference on acupuncture research; whole-system strategies for developing the evidence without distorting the medicine; use of qualitative research methods to explore acupuncture as a complex intervention; use of qualitative research approaches to explore some "missing" topics in acupuncture research; and the impact of acupuncture research on clinical practice. A concluding section focuses on future directions in acupuncture research.