Acupuncture and other types of 'complementary and alternative medicine' (CAM) are proving increasingly popular in the UK. As attempts to incorporate acupuncture into allopathic medicine have grown in number, the issue of assessing its effectiveness in ways consistent with the concept of evidence-based medicine has become more urgent. The nature, relevance and applicability of such assessments remain controversial however. This paper reports a qualitative study of acupuncturists' own perceptions of evidence and evidence-based medicine in relation to their therapeutic interventions. The material is presented in two main sections: explaining how acupuncture works, and resisting evidence-based medicine. The interviews reveal a great deal of scepticism and ambivalence and a deep questioning of the salience of conventional (biomedical) modes of evaluation of interventions.