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Acupuncture

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Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practice that originated thousands of years ago. It is based on the premise that a blockage or disturbance in the flow of the body’s life energy, or “qi,” can cause health issues. Acupuncturists insert hair-thin needles to specific acupuncture points throughout the body to restore the flow of qi, balance the body’s energy, stimulate healing, and promote relaxation.

According to TCM theory, there are over 1,000 acupuncture points on the body, each lying on an invisible energy channel, or “meridian.” Each meridian is associated with a different organ system.

Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. There have been many studies of its potential usefulness. However, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebo and sham acupuncture groups.

If you are having difficulty managing pain or other health issues with conventional methods, acupuncture may be worth a try. Just be sure to check with your doctor first to discuss whether it's appropriate for you.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Researchers don’t fully understand how acupuncture might work, but there are numerous theories. One theory is that acupuncture works by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

Acupuncture is also said to influence the autonomic nervous system (which controls bodily functions) and the release of chemicals that regulate blood flow and pressure, reduce inflammation, and calm the brain.

Uses of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is said to be useful in addressing a variety of health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain (such as headaches, back pain, neck pain)
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • SciaticaSinus
  • Congestion
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Tinnitus
  • Weight loss

Some people use acupuncture to promote fertility. It is also used to quit smoking and as a component of the treatment for other addictions.

Cosmetic acupuncture, also known as facial acupuncture, is used to improve the appearance of skin.

Not Sure If It’s Right For You?

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