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What Is Acupuncture?

17th Century Chinese Acupuncture Print, Lung Channel of Hand Tai Yin


Flashback to fifty years ago and acupuncture was a truly foreign concept. It was little known and even less used in the Western world. Thankfully, current-day use of acupuncture has become mainstream and the growing awareness of its effectiveness has ensured that acupuncture clinics and services can be found in most American cities.

Acupuncture was developed and has been used by the Chinese for at least 3000 years as a reliable medical treatment, long before modern medicine, as it is practiced in the West, was even a concept. The basis for acupuncture is the belief that the body, through injury or illness, becomes unbalanced. Qi (pronounced “chee”) – thought of as the natural energy that flows through the body – becomes blocked as a result and causes further problems. By gently inserting very thin, sterile needles at key points on the body, located on lines that run through the body referred to as meridians, the blocked energy is altered and the Qi is allowed to move freely. With appropriate application, the body is brought back into a healthy balance.

While many may still be skeptical of acupuncture’s efficacy, the support of acupuncture quickly grows with every new scientific study published. In 2003, the World Health Organization had published a Review and Analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials using Acupuncture up to 1998, and it lists dozens of conditions in which acupuncture was proven in scientific studies to be a suitable treatment method. Since that time, there have been many, many more studies conducted both in the US and abroad. It is no wonder more and more people are using acupuncture with all the ailments it can ease.

One of the most popular uses for acupuncture is to treat acute pain and for long term pain management. Conditions such as back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, headaches, and migraines are all effectively treated with acupuncture.

Besides pain relief, acupuncture is also beneficial at aiding in the treatment of multiple maladies. Illnesses such as neurological disorders, allergies, high blood pressure, skin disorders, reproductive and fertility issues, and even digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome can be improved through the use of acupuncture with a high degree of success.

It may seem overly simple to place thin needles on select parts of the body and expect drastic change, but that is exactly what happens. The results of acupuncture can give much-needed relief to people suffering from various complaints. When there is someone who has been suffering for too long, and acupuncture delivers the help they’ve been seeking, those thin needles don’t seem so simple after all.