Acupuncture is one of the essential elements
of Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine is a comprehensive health
care system encompassing
a variety of traditional health care therapies that have been
used for more than 5,000 years to diagnosis and treat illness,
disease and improve well being.
Acupuncture is an important component of traditional
Chinese medicine (TCM) that involves the insertion of thin needles
at specific points (acupoints), which are mostly along muscle
or nerve pathways.
The TCM theory of acupuncture is based on the premise
that there are patterns of energy flow called Qi (pronounced
throughout the body. This energy flow is required for good
health; blockages in Qi can lead to ill health throughout
the body. (All traditional Chinese medicine practices are
on improving the flow of Qi.)
According to TCM practitioners, the use of acupuncture
stimulates certain points in the energy channels, restoring (or
a healthy flow and balance. TCM practitioners use acupuncture
to treat and prevent a range of illnesses, even colds and
flu. In the U.S., however, it is also used to relieve chronic
usually from musculoskeletal problems. It can be used in
conjunction with other, more conventional therapies.
An estimated 15 million Americans
have undergone acupuncture, and about a million undergo the treatment
According to a National Institutes of Health consensus
panel of scientists, researchers, and practitioners who convened
in November 1997, clinical studies have shown that acupuncture
is an effective treatment for nausea caused by surgical anesthesia
and cancer-related treatments, as well as for dental pain
experienced after surgery. The panel also found that acupuncture
by itself or combined with conventional therapies to treat
addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia,
myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, carpal
tunnel syndrome, asthma, and to assist in stroke rehabilitation,
and many more health challenges.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the health
branch of the United Nations, lists more than 40 conditions for
may be a useful treatment, including Digestive, Abdominal
pain, Constipation, Diarrhea, emotional stresses, indigestion,
chronic fatigue, muscle pain, nausea and asthma.