OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and massage for shoulder-hand syndrome in hemiplegia patients. METHODS: One hundred and twenty hemiplegia patients with stage I shoulder-hand syndrome were randomly divided into a group treated with standardized electric acupuncture and massage, and a group treated with rehabilitation therapy for 6 weeks. The primary indices evaluated were pain on passive movement of the shoulder using the numeric pain rating scale (NPRS), and the number of patients with shoulder-hand syndrome at Steinbrocker stage II or III after treatment. The secondary indices were Fugl-Meyer evaluation of functional movement of the upper limb and hand using the modified rankin scale (MRS). RESULTS: At post-treatment evaluation and a 12-week follow-up visit, NPRS score, number of patients with stage II or III shoulder-hand syndrome, and MRS score were all improved in the acupuncture-massage group compared with the rehabilitation group (P<0.05). On Fugl-Meyer evaluation, functional movement of the upper limb was also improved in the acupuncture-massage group compared with the rehabilitation group (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: Standardized acupuncture-massage therapy may have curative effects on shoulder-hand syndrome in hemiplegia patients.