Acupuncture is a natural therapy that dates back thousands of years.
Specifically, acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into the
skin at specific points.
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, all the body
parts and internal organs are connected by the special pathway which is
called channel or meridians. Qi (energy force, pronounced chee) and
blood flows through these channels. There are 14 major meridians
in the human body, 12 of which are dominated by the major Organs.
Each of these links energy points across the whole body, which are all
related. The body stays healthy when its Qi and blood are
abundant and flowing smoothly. If energy is weak or blocked,pain
and disease may raise.
Acupuncture, by stimulating the specific points along the channel, is able to
keep these channels unobstructed, allow qi flow armoniously and thus correct
those imbalances. It may be helpful to think of this in terms of the
electricity supply to a room. The meridians are the wiring, the acupuncture
points are the light switches, dimmers and fuses, and the Organs are the
electrical appliances. This process affects both the structure and
function of internal organs. These acupoints were mapped by practitioners in
China over 2000 years ago, and in the past few decades research has confirmed
the existence and location of these points.
What can acupuncture treat?
--Adapted from University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine
Most research has focused on the use of acupuncture to treat pain, (especially from muscles and bones) and nausea, resulting from chemotherapy, anesthesia and pregnancy. Clinically, its applications range from treating back pain, joint pain, menstrual cramps and headaches to helping people maintain wellness.
In 1997, the National Institutes of Health issued a consensus statement after reviewing the research on acupuncture. Based on the research, the report said acupuncture may be an acceptable treatment, in addition to regular medical treatment, as part of a comprehensive management program or as an acceptable alternative in the areas of:
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Myofascial pain
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Menstrual cramps
For a more recent list, see conditions treated .