What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complete medical system used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. It is effective for physical, psychological and emotional problems.

Acupuncture originated in China more than 3,000 years ago and its use is now spreading in the western world because of its proven effectiveness. Acupuncture in the Western World Today, acupuncture is increasingly accepted by western medicine as an effective treatment for a wide range of disorders. Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are the nation’s fastest growing healthcare specialties.

The World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and the State of California all endorse acupuncture while many health insurance programs provide benefits for acupuncture treatments. The World Health Organization (an agency of the United Nations) identifies a broad range of conditions treatable by acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine.

A 1997 report sponsored by the NIH concluded that there was “clear evidence” to indicate that acupuncture is an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. In addition, unpleasant side effects were found to be less frequent than those associated with many conventional treatments. The NIH stated, “There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture’s value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.”

Scientists at Harvard Medical School and the China Academy for Traditional Chinese Medicine published studies in 2000 and 2002 that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor neuronal activity in response to acupuncture. The study found decreased activity in the limbic system and changes in the somatosensory cortex; brain regions involved in processing pain.

In 2004, the NIH published a study in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” concluding that acupuncture is an effective complement to standard care in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Since the 1970s when Acupuncture and Oriental medicine first became available in the United States, over 15 million Americans have been treated with Oriental medicine. America is now broadly embracing acupuncture as an effective intervention of care. Acupuncture is safe and relaxing with low risk and high potential benefits.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Science has determined that human beings are complex bioelectric systems. Energy circulates throughout the body along well-defined pathways. Points on the skin along these pathways are energetically connected to specific organs, body structures, and systems. If this energy circulation is disrupted, optimum function is affected resulting in pain/illness. Acupuncture works with the body to harmonize and balance energy. It improves circulation, releases endorphins to control pain, and helps the body to heal itself more quickly and more completely.