What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body. This is most often done by inserting thin needles through the skin, to cause a change in the physical functions of the body.

Research has shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy. It can also relieve pain. Researchers don't fully understand how acupuncture works. It might aid the activity of your body's pain-killing chemicals. It also might affect how you release chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.

NIH: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation appears to boost the activity of your body's natural painkillers and increase blood flow.

You may try acupuncture for symptomatic relief of a variety of diseases and conditions, including:

  •  Headaches
  • Low back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Dental pain
  • Tennis elbow