Acupuncture, which originated in ancient China, is a technique whereby tiny
needles, called filiform needles, are inserted into the skin.
The needles aren't placed at random, but rather follow a strict pattern (called meridians and acupoints) which is said to follow the flows of vital energy within the body.
With the introduction of Western medicine in China in the
19th century, it is quite possible that acupuncture would
be an all but forgotten art by now.
western medicine in China remained unattainable for many in
poor and rural areas, acupuncture continued to be the treatment
of choice for millions of Chinese patients.
when Mao Zedong saw that acupuncture was an effective treatment
for his troops on the Long March, he saw to it that acupuncture
remained an important part of Chinese medicine.
Today, acupuncture has grown steadily in popularity as an
alternative pain remedy in the West, even as modern science
can find no underlying pattern that might explain why it is
Acupuncturists treat certain parts of the body as a microcosm of
the body itself, with stimulation at certain points (in this example,
the ear) to help relieve pain and promote healing.
is believing", however, as Western physicians witness
acupuncture needles - placed in specific spots on the body
- effectively relieving such conditions as chronic
pain, nausea, morning sickness and other gastrointestinal
How acupuncture works
is not a cure-all, and there are Western studies and anecdotal
evidence which show acupuncture to be less effective against
such conditions as smoking cessation
addiction. There have also been studies which show that
filiform needles stuck in to non-acupuncture points have the
same effect as real acupuncture treatment, meaning that it
does not really matter where the needles are placed!
are several theories on why acupuncture does work. One theory
is that the perception of pain is regulated not just by pain
fibers, but also by other physiological or psychological means.
the theory is that pain can be overridden in the brain, and
acupuncture is one way to make that happen. There is some
compelling evidence to support the theory. When pain killing
drugs are given to those who have just experienced pain relief
from acupuncture, the pain returns and whatever the acupuncture
did to cause the brain to block the pain is undone.
Despite the fact that there is still a great deal that is
not understood about acupuncture, it is deemed a safe treatment
when performed by competent professionals.
The grand sweep of information from the online encyclopedia
including a detailed history, indications in Western medicine,
information on points and meridians, a discussion on controversy
and health risks, with related references and resources.
- News headlines, features stories and patient testimonials,
facts on recent research, Q&A, basics on Chinese medicine,
with a database of professional acupuncturists searchable
by country or zip/postal code.
- The online edition of the print magazine offering recent
feature articles, news, opinion, FAQ, with related guides
to herbal medicine, vitamins and minerals.
- Front and back views on an interactive human body map illustrated
with meridians and acupoints and how they relate to a variety
This information is intended
as reference and not as medical advice. All treatment decisions should be
made by medical professionals.