What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of alternative or complementary therapy. It involves inserting tiny needles into specific places in the skin called acupuncture points. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat chronic pain. Acupuncture may also help manage and prevent many conditions, from anxiety and premenstrual syndrome to infertility and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine practiced for thousands of years. Traditional acupuncturists believe that stimulating specific points on the body with tiny needles can restore and maintain health by balancing the flow of chi (pronounced “CHEE”), or vital energy, though the body. Western scientists believe that acupuncture may stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. This increases blood flow and your body's natural painkillers.
Research suggests that acupuncture may be effective for certain conditions, such as knee pain and low-back pain. More research is needed to verify how effective it is for these and other conditions.
You should consider acupuncture as a complementary therapy. It should not replace a complete medical treatment plan. Acupuncture involves little risk for most people. Discuss all your treatment options with your doctor to learn which options are safest and most effective for you.
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- Acupuncture. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture.
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