Category: 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is sometimes helpful.
Some people find that the local Chinatown is a good place to look for an acupuncturist.
Acupuncture has been used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Acupuncture has been performed in China for thousands of years to treat pain and numerous other ailments.
Some acupuncturists also offer related treatments, such as cupping.
During an acupuncture session, the patient lies flat on their back while the practitioner inserts needles into their body.
The purpose of acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of vital energy, also known as qi.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Cora Reed, Guillaume Baviere, Ruigsantos, Idmanjoe, Sorin Georgescu, Yanik Chauvin, Photok21
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
On average, people spend a year of their lives looking for items they've misplaced.  more...

December 18 ,  1620 :  The Mayflower landed in Plymouth.  more...

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which involves sticking solid, hair fine needles into the body at specific points. The procedure is designed to release blocked energy and address imbalances in the body which may cause ill health, and it has been used in China for thousands of years. In the West, acupuncture is a relatively recent introduction to the medical library, but its popularity has quickly grown.

The theory behind acupuncture is that everybody is filled with a life force, called qi, or chi. When the masculine and feminine aspects of the body, known as yin and yang, are in balance, the qi is in balance, and will flow smoothly through the body along meridians of power. When someone is unhealthy, this suggests that there is an obstruction or imbalance that must be corrected. A TCM practitioner talks to the patient about the situation and may choose to use acupuncture, among other modalities, to treat it.

Ad

During an acupuncture session, the patient lies flat on a table adjusted to the height of the practitioner. Depending on where needles are inserted, the patient may be fully clothed or asked to undress and draped with cloths for modesty. Acupuncture needles are inserted into various points of the body at angles ranging from 15 degrees relative to the skin to 90 degrees, depending on the judgment of the practitioner. Once inserted, the needles may be manipulated by hand in twisting motions, gently vibrated, heated, cooled, or electrified with a gentle current to stimulate the meridian.

After the session, the patient may feel highly relaxed or invigorated—results vary widely depending on the session. The underlying cause of the problem may have resolved itself, or it may take several acupuncture sessions to eradicate it altogether. The session should not be painful, and if placed properly, the needles do not cause bruising or bleeding. To make sure that you have a productive acupuncture session, it is recommended that you seek out a certified acupuncturist who has attended a TCM school.

Studies conducted on acupuncture in the West suggest that it may help to relieve pain, headaches, treat nerve conditions, mitigate asthma, and address nausea and vomiting. It is also useful for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, cramps, fibromyalgia and the pain of arthritis. The World Health Organization recommends acupuncture to help with stress, substance abuse, and allergies. In general in the West, acupuncture is used as a complementary form of medicine, and is combined with other treatments for maximum effectiveness.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon223197
Post 2

I have had acupuncture many times, for many issues, in several states/cities, and it can work wonders.

anon120762
Post 1

I've always had a fear of needles ever since a blood draw gone wrong, but acupuncture, now that I know more about it, doesn't seem frightening.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email