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Acupuncture (from Lat. acus, "needle" (noun), and pungere, "prick" (verb)) or in Standard Mandarin, zhēn jiǔ (針灸, needle therapy) is a technique of inserting and manipulating needles into "acupuncture points" on the body. According to acupunctural teachings this will restore health and well-being, and is particularly good at treating pain. The definition and characterization of these points is standardized by the World Health Organization . Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese medicine.
- 1 Types of acupuncture
- 2 Acvupuncture and the treament of psychological conditions
- 3 History
- 4 Traditional theory
- 5 Legal and political status
- 6 Clinical practice
- 7 Scientific theories and mechanisms of action
- 8 Scientific research into efficacy
- 9 Safety and risks
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 See also
- 13 External links
Types of acupuncture
- Auricular Acupuncture
- Chinese Acupuncture
- Japanese Acupuncture
- Korean acupuncture
- Tam Healing
Whether acupuncture is efficacious or a placebo has been the subject of ongoing scientific research. Scientists have conducted reviews of existing clinical trials according to the protocols of evidence-based medicine; some have found efficacy for headache, low back pain and nausea, but for most conditions have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not acupuncture is effective. The World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institute of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various government reports have also studied and commented on the efficacy of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners, and that further research is warranted.
Acvupuncture and the treament of psychological conditions
- Acupuncture and depression
- Acupuncture and anxiety
- Acupuncture and stress
- Acupuncture and sexual dysfunction
- Acupuncture and addiction
In China, the practice of acupuncture can perhaps be traced as far back as the 1st millennium BC and archeological evidence has been identified with the period of the Han dynasty (from 202 BC to 220 AD)[How to reference and link to summary or text]. Forms of it are also described in the literature of traditional Korean medicine where it is called chimsul. It is also important in Kampo, the traditional medicine system of Japan.
Recent examinations of Ötzi, a 5000-year-old mummy found in the Alps, have identified over fifty tattoos on his body, some of which are located on acupuncture points that would today be used to treat ailments Ötzi suffered from. Some scientists believe that this is evidence that practices similar to acupuncture were practiced elsewhere in Eurasia during the early bronze age. According to an article published in The Lancet by Dorfer et al.: "We hypothesised that there might have been a medical system similar to acupuncture (Chinese Zhenjiu: needling and burning) that was practised in Central Europe 5200 years ago...A treatment modality similar to acupuncture thus appears to have been in use long before its previously known period of use in the medical tradition of ancient China. This raises the possibility of acupuncture having originated in the Eurasian continent at least 2000 years earlier than previously recognised." , .
Acupuncture's origins in China are uncertain. The earliest Chinese medical texts (Ma-wang-tui graves 68 BC) do not mention acupuncture. The Chinese medical text that first describes acupuncture is The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (History of Acupuncture), which was compiled around 305–204 B.C. Some hieroglyphics have been found dating back to 1000 B.C. that may indicate an early use of acupuncture.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Bian stones, sharp pointed stones used to treat diseases in ancient times, have also been discovered in ruins (History of Acupuncture in China); some scholars believe that the bloodletting for which these stones were likely used presages certain acupuncture techniques .
RC Crozier in the book Traditional medicine in modern China (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1968) says the early Chinese Communist Party expressed considerable antipathy towards classical forms of Chinese medicine, ridiculing it as superstitious, irrational and backward, and claiming that it conflicted with the Party’s dedication to science as the way of progress. Acupuncture was included in this criticism. Reversing this position, Communist Party Chairman Mao later said that "Chinese medicine and pharmacology are a great treasure house and efforts should be made to explore them and raise them to a higher level". Representatives were sent out across China to collect information about the theories and practices of Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM is the formalized system of Chinese medicine that was created out of this effort. TCM combines the use of Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tui na and other modalities. After the Cultural Revolution, TCM instruction was incorporated into university medical curricula under the "Three Roads" policy, wherein TCM, biomedicine and a synthesis of the two would all be encouraged and permitted to develop. After this time, forms of classical Chinese medicine other than TCM were outlawed, and some practitioners left China. The first forms of acupuncture to reach the United States were brought by non-TCM practitioners, many employing styles that had been handed down in family lineages, or from master to apprentice (collectively known as "Classical Chinese Acupuncture").
Chinese medicine is based on a different paradigm than scientific biomedicine. Its theory holds the following explanation of acupuncture:
Acupuncture treats the human body as a whole that involves several "systems of function" that are in some cases loosely associated with (but not identified on a one-to-one basis with) physical organs. Some systems of function, such as the "triple heater" (San Jiao, also called the "triple burner") have no corresponding physical organ. Disease is understood as a loss of homeostasis among the several systems of function, and treatment of disease is attempted by modifying the activity of one or more systems of function through the activity of needles, pressure, heat, etc. on sensitive parts of the body of small volume traditionally called "acupuncture points" in English, or "xue" (穴, cavities) in Chinese. This is referred to as treating "patterns of disharmony".
The acupoints used may or may not be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom. Some acupuncturists, particularly in Japan, reply heavily on palpation for tender points, called "ashi" (signifying "that's it", "ouch", or "oh yes") points. The TCM theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian system to bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi (also spelled "chi").
Treatment of acupuncture points may be performed along the twelve main or eight extra meridians, located throughout the body, or on "ashi" points. Of the eight extra meridians, only two have acupuncture points of their own. The other six meridians are "activated" by using a master and couple point technique which involves needling the acupuncture points located on the twelve main meridians that correspond to the particular extra meridian. Ten of the main meridians are named after organs of the body (Heart, Liver, etc.), and the other two are named after so called body functions (Heart Protector or Pericardium, and San Jiao). The meridians are capitalized to avoid confusion with a physical organ (for example, we write the "Heart meridian" as opposed to the "heart meridian"). The two most important of the eight "extra" meridians are situated on the midline of the anterior and posterior aspects of the trunk and head. The twelve primary meridians run vertically, bilaterally, and symmetrically and every channel corresponds to and connects internally with one of the twelve Zang Fu ("organs"). This means that there are six yin and six yang channels. There are three yin and three yang channels on each arm, and three yin and three yang on each leg.
The three yang channels of the foot (Stomach, Gallbladder, and Bladder) begin on the face, in the region of the eye, and travel down the body and along the outer surface (mostly the anterior and lateral portion) of the leg to the foot.
The movement of qi through each of the twelve channels is comprised of an internal and an external pathway. The external pathway is what is normally shown on an acupuncture chart and it is relatively superficial. All the acupuncture points of a channel lie on its external pathway. The internal pathways are the deep course of the channel where it enters the body cavities and related Zang-Fu organs. The superficial pathways of the twelve channels describe three complete circuits of the body.
The distribution of qi through the meridians is said to be as follows: Lung channel of hand taiyin to Large Intestine channel of hand yangming to Stomach channel of foot yangming to Spleen channel of foot taiyin to Heart channel of hand shaoyin to Small Intestine channel of hand taiyang to Bladder channel of foot taiyang to Kidney channel of foot shaoyin to Pericardium channel of hand jueyin to San Jiao channel of hand shaoyang to Gallbladder channel of foot shaoyang to Liver channel of foot jueyin then back to the Lung channel of hand taiyin.
Chinese medical theory holds that acupuncture works by normalizing the free flow of qi (a difficult-to-translate concept that pervades Chinese philosophy and is commonly translated as "vital energy") throughout the body. Pain or illnesses are treated by attempting to remedy local or systemic accumulations or deficiencies of qi. Pain is considered to indicate blockage or stagnation of the flow of qi, and an axiom of the medical literature of acupuncture is "no pain, no blockage; no blockage, no pain".
Many patients claim to experience the sensations of stimulus known in Chinese as "deqi" (得氣, "obtaining the qi" or "arrival of the qi"). This kind of sensation was historically considered to be evidence of effectively locating the desired point. There are some electronic devices now available which will make a noise when what they have been programmed to describe as the "correct" acupuncture point is pressed.
The acupuncturist decides which points to treat by observing and questioning the patient in order to make a diagnosis according to the tradition which he or she utilizes. In TCM, there are four diagnostic methods: inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiring, and palpation (Cheng, 1987, ch. 12). Inspection focuses on the face and particularly on the tongue, including analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge. Auscultation and olfaction refer, respectively, to listening for particular sounds (such as wheezing) and attending to unusual body odor. Inquiring focuses on the "seven inquiries", which are: chills and fever; perspiration; appetite, thirst and taste; defecation and urination; pain; sleep; and menses and leukorrhea. Palpation includes feeling the body for tender "ashi" points, and palpation of the left and right radial pulses at two levels of pressure (superficial and deep) and three positions (immediately proximal to the wrist crease, and one and two fingers' breadth proximally, usually palpated with the index, middle and ring fingers). Other forms of acupuncture employ additional diagnosic techniques. In many forms of classical Chinese acupuncture, as well as Japanese acupuncture, palpation of the muscles and the hara (abdomen) are central to diagnosis.
There are also theories being developed to explain effects observed for acupuncture within the orthodox Western medical paradigm.
Categories of acupuncture points
Certain acupuncture points are ascribed different functions according to different systems within the TCM framework.
- Five Transporting Points system describes the flow of qi in the channels using a river analogy, and ascribes function to points along this flowline according to their location. This system describes qi bubbling up from a spring and gradually growing in depth and breadth like a river flowing down from a mountain to the sea.
- Jing-well points represent the place where the qi "bubbles" up. These points are always the first points on the yang channels or last points on the yin channels and with exception of Kid-1 YongQuan all points are located on the tips of fingers and toes. The Nan Jing and Nei Jing described jing-well points as indicated for "fullness below the heart" (feeling of fullness in the epigastric or hypochondrium regions) and disorders of the zang organs (yang organs).
- Ying-spring points are where the qi "glides" down the channel. The Nan Jing and Nei Jing described ying-spring points as indicated for heat in the body and change in complexion.
- Shu-stream points are where the qi "pours" down the channel. Shu-stream points are indicated for heaviness in the body and pain in the joints, and for intermittent diseases.
- Jing-river points are where the qi "flows" down the channel. Jing-river points are indicated for cough and dyspnoea, chills and fever, diseases manifesting as changes in voice, and for diseases of the sinews and bones.
- He-sea points are where the qi collects and begins to head deeper into the body. He-sea points are indicated for counterflow qi and diarrhea, and for disorders resulting from irregular eating and drinking.
- Five Phase Points ascribe each of the five phases - wood, fire, earth, metal and water - to one of the Five Transporting points. On the yin channels, the jing-well points are wood points, the ying-spring points are fire, shu-stream points are earth, jing-river points are metal, he-sea points are water points. On the yang channels, the jing-well points are metal, ying-spring are water, shu-stream are wood, jing-river points are fire and he-sea points are earth points. These point categories are then implemented according to Five Phase theory in order to approach the treatment of disease.
- Xi-cleft points are the point on the channel where the qi and blood gather and plunge more deeply. These points are indicated in acute situations and for painful conditions.
- Yuan-source points are points on the channel from where the yuan qi can be accessed.
- Luo-connecting points are located at the point on the channel where the luo meridian diverges. Each of the twelve meridians have a luo point that diverges from the main meridian. There are also three extra luo channels that diverge at Sp-21, Ren-15 and Du-1.
- Back-shu points lie on the paraspinal muscles either side of the spine. Theory says that the qi of each organ is transported to and from these points, and can be influenced by them.
- Front-mu points are located in close proximity to the respective organ. They have a direct effect on the organ itself but not on the associated channel.
- Hui-meeting points are a category of points that are considered to have a "special effect" on certain tissues and organs. The hui-meeting points are:
- zang organs - Liv-13 Zhang Men
- fu organs - Ren-12 Zhong Fu
- qi - Ren-17 Shang Fu
- blood - Bl-17 Ge Shu
- sinews - GB-34 Yang Ling Quan
- vessels - Lu-9 Tai Yuan
- bone - Bl11 Da Zhu
- marrow - GB-39 Xuan Zhong
TCM perspective on treatment of disease
Although TCM is based on the treatment of "patterns of disharmony" rather than biomedical diagnoses, practitioners familiar with both systems have commented on relationships between the two. A given TCM pattern of disharmony may be reflected in a certain range of biomedical diagnoses: thus, the pattern called Deficiency of Spleen Qi could manifest as chronic fatigue, diarrhea or uterine prolapse. Likewise, a population of patients with a given biomedical diagnosis may have varying TCM patterns. These observations are encapsulated in the TCM aphorism "One disease, many patterns; one pattern, many diseases". (Kaptchuk, 1982)
Acupuncture has been used to treat a number of conditions (see Clinical practice, below). Classically, "(i)n clinical practice, acupuncture treatment is typically highly-individualized and based on philosophical constructs, and subjective and intuitive impressions" and not on controlled scientific research.".
Criticism of TCM theory
TCM theory predates use of the scientific method, and has received various criticisms on that basis.
- ...no matter how it is done, scientific research can never demonstrate that unblocking chi by acupuncture or any other means is effective against any disease. Chi is defined as being undetectable by the methods of empirical science.
A report for CSICOP on pseudoscience in China written by Wallace Sampson and Barry L. Beyerstein said:
- A few Chinese scientists we met maintained that although Qi is merely a metaphor, it is still a useful physiological abstraction (e.g., that the related concepts of Yin and Yang parallel modern scientific notions of endocrinologic and metabolic feedback mechanisms). They see this as a useful way to unite Eastern and Western medicine. Their more hard-nosed colleagues quietly dismissed Qi as only a philosophy, bearing no tangible relationship to modern physiology and medicine.
Stephen Barrett, founder of the website Quackwatch.org, writes:
- "Chinese medicine," often called "Oriental medicine" or "traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)," encompasses a vast array of folk medical practices based on mysticism. It holds that the body's vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. ... Most acupuncturists espouse the traditional Chinese view of health and disease and consider acupuncture, herbal medicine, and related practices to be valid approaches to the full gamut of disease. Others reject the traditional approach and merely claim that acupuncture offers a simple way to achieve pain relief. Some acupuncturists ... claim that acupuncture can be used to treat conditions when the patient just "doesn't feel right," even though no disease is apparent.
- In 1995, George A. Ulett, M.D., Ph. D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Missouri School of Medicine, stated that "devoid of metaphysical thinking, acupuncture becomes a rather simple technique that can be useful as a nondrug method of pain control." He believes that the traditional Chinese variety is primarily a placebo treatment, but electrical stimulation of about 80 acupuncture points has been proven useful for pain control.
Ted Kaptchuk, author of The Web That Has No Weaver, refers to acupuncture as "prescientific". Regarding TCM theory, Kaptchuk states:
- These ideas are cultural and speculative constructs that provide orientation and direction for the practical patient situation. There are few secrets of Oriental wisdom buried here. When presented outside the context of Chinese civilization, or of practical diagnosis and therapeutics, these ideas are fragmented and without great significance. The "truth" of these ideas lies in the way the physician can use them to treat real people with real complaints. (1983, pp.34-35)
According to the NIH consensus statement on acupuncture:
- Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the "acupuncture points", the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture.
Legal and political status
Acupuncturists may also practice herbal medicine or tui na, or may be medical acupuncturists, who are trained in allopathic medicine but also practice acupuncture in a simplified form. License is regulated by the state or province in many countries, and often requires passage of a board exam.
In the United States, acupuncturists are generally referred to by the professional title "Licensed Acupuncturist", abbreviated "L.Ac.". The abbreviation "Dipl. Ac." stands for "Diplomate of Acupuncture" and signifies that the holder is board-certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Professional degrees are usually at the level of a Master's degree and include "M.Ac." (Master's in Acupuncture), "M.S.Ac." (Master's of Science in Acupuncture), "M.S.O.M" (Master's of Science in Oriental Medicine), "M.A.O.M." (Master's of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine). "O.M.D." signifies Oriental Medical Doctor, and may be used by graduates of Chinese medical schools, or by American graduates of certain postgraduate programs. The O.M.D. is not recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), which accredits American educational programs in acupuncture). The ACAOM is currently beginning the process of accrediting the "Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" (DAOM) degree, and this new degree will represent the terminal degree in the field. The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and Bastyr University were the first two institutions in the United States to offer the DAOM, and it is estimated that within the next ten years the DAOM degree will replace all master's level training programs in the United States.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
In the USA, acupuncture is practiced by a variety of healthcare providers. Practitioners who specialize in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are usually referred to as "licensed acupuncturists", or L.Ac.'s. Other healthcare providers such as physicians, dentists and chiropractors sometimes also practice acupuncture, though they may often receive less training than L.Ac.'s. L.Ac.'s generally receive from 2500 to 4000 hours of training in Chinese medical theory, acupuncture, and basic biosciences. Some also receive training in Chinese herbology and/or bodywork. The amount of training required for healthcare providers who are not L.Ac.'s varies from none to a few hundred hours, and in Hawaii the practice of acupuncture requires full training as a licensed acupuncturist. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine tests practitioners to ensure they are knowledgeable about Chinese medicine and appropriate sterile technique. Many states require this test for licensing, but each state has its own laws and requirements. In some states, acupuncturists are required to work with an M.D. in a subservient relationship, even if the M.D. has no training in acupuncture.
Acupuncture is becoming accepted by the general public and by doctors. Over fifteen million Americans tried acupuncture in 1994. A poll of American doctors in 2005 showed that 60% believe acupuncture was at least somewhat effective, with the percentage increasing to 75% if acupuncture is considered as a complement to conventional treatment .
In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration changed the status of acupuncture needles from Class III to Class II medical devices, meaning that needles are regarded as safe and effective when used appropriately by licensed practitioners  .
In the province of British Columbia the TCM practitioners and Acupuncturists Bylaws were approved by the provincial government on April 12, 2001. The governing body, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia provides professional licensing. Acupuncturists began lobbying the B.C. government in the 1970s for regulation of the profession which was achieved in 2003.
In Ontario, the practice of acupuncture is at present unregulated. Canada bill #50 defines "Traditional Chinese Medicine" (TCM) and includes standards for accreditation. It may become law.
In the United Kingdom, British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) members observe the Code of Safe Practice with standards of hygiene and sterilisation of equipment. Members use single-use pre-sterilised disposable needles. Similar standards apply in most jurisdictions in the United States and Australia.
Acupuncture is also practiced by a number of registered medical practitioners, many of whom belong to the British Medical Acupunture Society, which also publishes a quarterly journal "Acupunture in Medicine". Medical practitioners of Acupuncture in the UK vary in the degree to which they take account of traditional concepts like meridians, some thinking them to be very useful whilst others tend to concentrate on palpable "trigger points".
In Australia, the legalities of practicing acupuncture also vary by state. In 2000, an independent government agency was established to oversee the practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture in the state of Victoria. The Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria  aims to protect the public, ensuring that only appropriately experienced or qualified practitioners are registered to practice Chinese Medicine. The legislation put in place stipulates that only practitioners who are state registered may use the following titles: Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Registered Acupuncturist, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner, and Registered Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner.
The Parliamentary Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission in the Australian state of New South Wales commissioned a report investigating Traditional Chinese medicine practice.  They recommended the introduction of a government appointed registration board that would regulate the profession by restricting use of the titles "acupuncturist", "Chinese herbal medicine practitioner" and "Chinese medicine practitioner". The aim of registration is to protect the public from the risks of acupuncture by ensuring a high baseline level of competency and education of registered acupuncturists, enforcing guidelines regarding continuing professional education and investigating complaints of practitioner conduct. The registration board will hold more power than local councils in respect to enforcing compliance with legal requirements and investigating and punishing misconduct. Victoria is the only state of Australia with an operational registration board.  Currently acupuncturists in NSW are bound by the guidelines in the Public Health (Skin Penetration) Regulation 2000 which is enforced at local council level. Other states of Australia have their own skin penetration acts. The act describes explicitly that single-use disposable needles should be used wherever possible, and that a needle labelled as "single-use" should be disposed of in a sharps container and never reused. Any other type of needle that penetrates the skin should be appropriately sterilised (by autoclave) before reuse.
Many other countries do not license acupuncturists or require they be trained.
Most modern acupuncturists use disposable stainless steel needles of fine diameter (0.007" to 0.020", 0.18mm to 0.51 mm), sterilized with ethylene oxide or by autoclave. The upper third of these needles is wound with a thicker wire (typically bronze), or covered in plastic, to stiffen the needle and provide a handle for the acupuncturist to grasp while inserting. The size and type of needle used, and the depth of insertion, depend on the acupuncture style being practiced.
Warming an acupuncture point, typically by moxibustion (the burning of mugwort), is a different treatment than acupuncture itself and is often, but not exclusively, used as a supplementing treatment. The Chinese term zhēn jǐu (針灸), commonly used to refer to acupuncture, comes from zhen meaning "needle", and jiu meaning "moxibustion". Moxibustion is still used in the 21st century to varying degrees among the schools of oriental medicine. For example, one well known technique is to insert the needle at the desired acupuncture point, attach dried mugwort to the external end of an acupuncture needle, and then ignite the mugwort. The mugwort will then smolder for several minutes (depending on the amount adhered to the needle) and conduct heat through the needle to the tissue surrounding the needle in the patient's body. Another common technique is to hold a large glowing stick of moxa over the needles. Moxa is also sometimes burned at the skin surface, usually by applying an ointment to the skin to protect from burns.
An example of acupuncture treatment
In western medicine, vascular headaches (the kind that are accompanied by throbbing veins in the temples) are typically treated with analgesics such as aspirin and/or by the use of agents such as niacin that dilate the affected blood vessels in the scalp, but in acupuncture a common treatment for such headaches is to stimulate the sensitive points that are located roughly in the center of the webs between the thumbs and the palms of the patient, the hé gǔ points. These points are described by acupuncture theory as "targeting the face and head" and are considered to be the most important point when treating disorders affecting the face and head. The patient reclines, and the points on each hand are first sterilized with alcohol, and then thin, disposable needles are inserted to a depth of approximately 3-5 mm until a characteristic "twinge" is felt by the patient, often accompanied by a slight twitching of the area between the thumb and hand. Most patients report a pleasurable "tingling" sensation and feeling of relaxation while the needles are in place. The needles are retained for 15-20 minutes while the patient rests, and then are removed.
In the clinical practice of acupuncturists, patients frequently report one or more of certain kinds of sensation that are associated with this treatment, sensations that are stronger than those that would be felt by a patient not suffering from a vascular headache:
- Extreme sensitivity to pain at the points in the webs of the thumbs.
- In bad headaches, a feeling of nausea that persists for roughly the same period as the stimulation being administered to the webs of the thumbs.
- Simultaneous relief of the headache. (See Zhen Jiu Xue, p. 177f et passim.)
Indications according to acupuncturists in the West
- Acute and chronic pain control*
- Posttraumatic and postoperative ileus *
- Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures*
- Paresthesias *
- Anxiety, fright, panic*
- Drug detoxification *
- Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)
- Seventh nerve palsy
- Sequelae of stroke syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia) *
- Certain functional gastrointestinal disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel) *
- Headache, vertigo (Meniere disease), tinnitus *
- Phantom pain
- Frozen shoulder *
- Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes*
- Plantar fasciitis*
- Arthritis/arthrosis *
- Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome*
- Sprains and contusions
- In fractures, assisting in pain control, edema, and enhancing healing process
- Temporo-mandibular joint derangement, bruxism *
- Dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain *
- Atypical chest pain (negative workup)
- Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachycardia
- Allergic sinusitis *
- Persistent hiccups*
- Selected dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
- Constipation, diarrhea *
- Urinary incontinence, retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect) *
- Abdominal distention/flatulence*
- Severe hyperthermia
- Cough with contraindications for narcotics
- Anesthesia for high-risk patients or patients with previous adverse responses to anesthetics
- * Also included in the World Health Organization list of acupuncture indications.
Scientific theories and mechanisms of action
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Many hypotheses have been proposed to address the physiological mechanisms of action of acupuncture. To date, more than 10,000 scientific research studies have been published on acupuncture as cataloged by the National Library of Medicine database.
Gate-control theory of pain
The "gate control theory of pain" (developed by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall in 1962 and in 1965) proposed that pain perception is not simply a direct result of activating pain fibers, but modulated by interplay between excitation and inhibition of the pain pathways. The "gating of pain" is controlled by the inhibitory action on the pain pathways. That is, the perception of pain can be altered (gated on or off) by a number of means physiologically, psychologically and pharmacologically. The gate-control theory was developed in neuroscience independent of acupuncture, which later was proposed as a mechanism to account for the analgesic action of acupuncture in the brainstem reticular formation by a German neuroscientist in 1976. (With the advance in modern-day technology, stimulation of these pathways can be demonstrated to alter pain perception using electrical stimulations or magnetic stimulations, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy for pain.[How to reference and link to summary or text])
It is well-documented in neuroscience that pain blockade can be achieved at multiple levels in the central nervous system (i.e., the brain and spinal cord).[How to reference and link to summary or text] At the spinal cord level, pain transmission via the pain fibers can be blocked by surround inhibition of the neighboring nerve fibers that merge at the substantia gelatinosa in the spinal cord.[How to reference and link to summary or text] That is to say, stimulation of the surrounding neurons can cause a reduction of pain when the center excitatory pain fibers are inhibited by the surrounding cutaneous (touch) fibers. This phenomenon is demonstrated in the all-too-common experience that, when we bump our head, pain can be relieved by rubbing the surrounding skin area (activating the surround inhibitory neural circuitry physiologically). Blockade of pain at this level suppresses pain by blocking the pain signal from the periphery. Furthermore, pain blocking by this cutaneous stimulus only lasts for a short period of time, whereas it is claimed that the effect of pain relief by acupuncture lasts for an extended period of time, sometimes months after the needle was removed.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
This leads to the theory of central control of pain gating, i.e., pain blockade at the brain (i.e., central to the brain rather than at the spinal cord or periphery) via the release of endogenous opioid (natural pain killers in the brain) neurohormones, such as endorphins and enkaphalins (naturally occurring morphines).
Pain transmission can also be modulated at many other levels in the brain along the pain pathways, including the periaqueductal gray, thalamus, and the feedback pathways from the cortex back to the thalamus. Each of these brain structure processes different aspect of the pain — from experiencing emotional pain to the perception of what the pain feels like to the recognition of how harmful the pain is to localizing where the pain is coming from. Pain blockade at these brain locations are often mediated by neurohormones, especially those that bind to the opioid receptors (pain-blockade site). Pain relief by morphine drug (exogenous opioid) is acting on the same opioid receptor (where pain blockade occurs) as endorphins (endogenous opioids) that the brain produces and releases.
Some studies suggest that the Analgesic (pain-killing) action of acupuncture is mediated by stimulating the release of natural endorphins in the brain. This can be proven scientifically by blocking the action of endorphins (or morphine) using a drug called naloxone. When naloxone is administered to the patient, the analgesic effects of morphine can be reversed, causing the patient to feel pain again. When naloxone is administered to an acupunctured patient, the analgesic effect of acupuncture can also be reversed, causing the patient to report an increased level of pain. This demonstrates that the site of action of acupuncture may be mediated through the natural release of endorphins by the brain, which can be reversed by naloxone. Similar results were also obtained in experiments with animals showing that the analgesic effect is not due to subjective psychological placebo effect, but real physiological phenomenon. Such analgesic effect can also be shown to last more than an hour after acupuncture stimulation by recording the neural activity directly in the thalamus (pain processing site) of the monkey's brain. Furthermore, there is a large overlap between the nervous system and acupuncture trigger points (points of maximum tenderness in myofascial pain syndrome).
The sites of action of acupuncture-induced analgesia are also confirmed to be mediated through the thalamus (where emotional pain/suffering is processed) using modern-day powerful non-invasive fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (positron emission tomography) brain imaging techniques, and via the feedback pathway from the cerebral cortex (where cognitive feedback signal to the thalamus distinguishing whether the pain is noxious (painful) or innocuous (non-harmful)) using electrophysiological recording of the nerve impulses of neurons directly in the cortex, which shows inhibitory action when acupuncture stimulus was applied.
Scientific research into efficacy
There is scientific agreement that an evidence-based medicine (EBM) framework should be used to assess health outcomes and that systematic reviews with strict protocols are essential. Organisations such as the Cochrane Collaboration and Bandolier publish such reviews.
For the following conditions, the Cochrane Collaboration concluded there is insufficient evidence that acupuncture is beneficial, often because of the paucity and poor quality of the research and that further research would be needed to support claims for efficacy:
- Giving up smoking
- Chronic asthma
- Bell's palsy
- Shoulder pain
- Lateral elbow pain
- Acute stroke
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Induction of labour
For low back pain, a Cochrane review (2006) stated:
- Thirty-five RCTs covering 2861 patients were included in this systematic review. There is insufficient evidence to make any recommendations about acupuncture or dry-needling for acute low-back pain. For chronic low-back pain, results show that acupuncture is more effective for pain relief than no treatment or sham treatment, in measurements taken up to three months. The results also show that for chronic low-back pain, acupuncture is more effective for improving function than no treatment, in the short-term. Acupuncture is not more effective than other conventional and "alternative" treatments. When acupuncture is added to other conventional therapies, it relieves pain and improves function better than the conventional therapies alone. However, effects are only small. Dry-needling appears to be a useful adjunct to other therapies for chronic low-back pain.
A review by Manheimer et al. in Annals of Internal Medicine (2005) reached conclusions similar to Cochrane's review on low back pain.
For headache, Cochrane concluded (2006) that "(o)verall, the existing evidence supports the value of acupuncture for the treatment of idiopathic headaches. However, the quality and amount of evidence are not fully convincing. There is an urgent need for well-planned, large-scale studies to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture under real-life conditions." . Bandolier (1999) states: "There is no evidence from high quality trials that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of migraine and other forms of headache. The trials showing a significant benefit of acupuncture were of dubious methodological quality. Overall, the trials were of poor methodological quality."
For nausea and vomiting: The Cochrane review (2006) on the use of the P6 acupoint for the reduction of post-operative nausea and vomiting concluded that "compared with anti emetic prophylaxis, P6 acupoint stimulation seems to reduce the risk of nausea but not vomiting" . Cochrane also stated: "Electroacupuncture is effective for first day vomiting after chemotherapy, but trials considering modern antivomiting drugs are needed." .Bandolier said "P6 acupressure in two studies showed 52% of patients with control having a success, compared with 75% with P6 acupressure"(1999) and that one in five adults, but not children showed reduction in early postoperative nausea(2000). A review published by the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, however, argued that at the time of writing (2005) the data "are insufficiently reliable to confirm such an effect".
For osteoarthritis, Bandolier, commenting on a 1997 review by Edzard Ernst, stated:  "There is no evidence that acupuncture is more effective than sham/placebo acupuncture for the relief of joint pain due to osteoarthritis (OA)."
In practice, EBM does not demand that doctors ignore research outside its "top-tier" criteria .
NIH consensus statement
According to the National Institutes of Health:
- Preclinical studies have documented acupuncture's effects, but they have not been able to fully explain how acupuncture works within the framework of the Western system of medicine that is commonly practiced in the United States.
- 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.
The statement was not a policy statement of the NIH  but rather the assessment of a panel convened by the NIH.
The NIH consensus statement said that
- the data in support of acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies
and added that
- there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture is efficacious for adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and probably for the nausea of pregnancy... There is reasonable evidence of efficacy for postoperative dental pain... reasonable studies (although sometimes only single studies) showing relief of pain with acupuncture on diverse pain conditions such as menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, and fibromyalgia...
The NIH consensus statement summarized and made a prediction:
- Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. While there have been many studies of its potential usefulness, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebos and sham acupuncture groups. However, promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.
The NIH's National Center For Complementary And Alternative Medicine continues to abide by the recommendations of the NIH Consensus Statement .
American Medical Association statement
"There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious. Well-designed, stringently controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of alternative therapies."
A note on scientific methodology and acupuncture
One of the major criticisms of studies which purport to find that acupuncture is anything more than a placebo is that most such studies are not (in the view of critics) properly conducted. Many are not double blinded and are not randomised. However, double-blinding is not a trivial issue in acupuncture: since acupuncture is a procedure and not a pill, it is difficult to design studies in which the person providing treatment is blinded as to the treatment being given. The same problem arises in double-blinding procedures used in biomedicine, including virtually all surgical procedures, dentistry, physical therapy, etc.; the NIH Consensus Statement notes such issues with regard to sham acupuncture, a technique often used in studies purporting to be double-blinded. See also Criticism of evidence-based medicine. Tonelli, a prominent critic of EBM, argues that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) cannot be EBM-based unless the definition of evidence is changed. Tonelli also says "the methods of developing knowledge within CAM currently have limitations and are subject to bias and varied interpretation. CAM must develop and defend a rational and coherent method for assessing causality and efficacy, though not necessarily one based on the results of controlled clinical trials." .
In China, placebo-controlled studies are often not performed as it believed to be unethical to pretend to give patients bonafide treatment.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
Some researchers argue that there is no evidence that acupuncture has any affect on the pathogenesis of viruses and microorganisms, or on human physiology, with the exception of the neurological pathways associated with the nerve cells that were stimulated by them.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Thus, the most promising clinical application of acupuncture is in the area of pain control.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
Some researchers argue that to date there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating that the procedure has any effectiveness beyond that of a placebo.[How to reference and link to summary or text] They argue that studies on acupuncture that meet scientific standards of experimentation have concluded two things: acupuncture is usually more effective than no treatment or a placebo in pill form, and that there is no significant difference in the effectiveness of acupuncture and “sham” acupuncture (needling performed superficially a/o at non-acupuncture sites), which is often used as a control.  These researchers therefore conclude that acupuncture's effect is either caused by the tendency of extended, invasive procedures to generate more powerful placebo effects than pills or by the general stimulation of afferent nerve endings at the surface of the skin, causing the release of pain relieving biochemical compounds such as endorphins (this can also be done with jalapeno peppers, electricity, and various other form of stimulation).[How to reference and link to summary or text] It may also be a combination of these two effects.
The vast majority of research on acupuncture is conducted by researchers in China, and Ernst et al. argue that there exist major flaws in the design of the experiments, as well as selective reporting of results, and conclude that no conclusions can be drawn from them Some researchers argue that numerous experimental difficulties have prevented the conclusive establishment of a causative relationship (if it exists) between pain relief and the administration of acupuncture.[How to reference and link to summary or text] These include the subjective nature of pain measurement and the pervasive influence of psychological factors such as suggestion, confirmation bias, and the distraction of being poked by a needle. Also, they argue, the tendency of chronic pain to ebb and flow on its own without any external intervention leads people to falsely perceive that the last measure they took before the pain subsided was the cause of the relief. This is a logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Examples of controlled studies
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- Osteoarthritis of the knee German investigators (GERAC Studies ) randomized 1039 patients who had knee pain and radiologic evidence of osteoarthritis to receive traditional Chinese acupuncture, sham acupuncture (minimal-depth needle insertion at sites away from traditional acupuncture points), or standard physician consultations. Improvement in a standard pain and function score was more likely in the traditional- and sham-acupuncture groups than in the standard-treatment group (53% and 51% vs. 29%, respectively). However, the placebo effect could be operating here, because similar improvements were observed regardless of whether or not needles were inserted into defined acupuncture points.  Commentators have questioned the use of sham acupuncture as a control in this study  and others, arguing that sham acupuncture may be too similar to real acupuncture to be a valid control, thereby skewing results toward showing a relative lack of efficacy. Others questioned the success of blinding, because the study plan was published in the internet before the study ended  and .
- Low Back Pain German investigators (ART Studies) randomized 298 patients who had low back pain  . This study was also criticized because the study plan was published in the internet before the study ended .
- Central Nervous Pathway for Acupuncture Stimulation: Localization of Processing with Functional MR Imaging of the Brain—Preliminary Experience: Ming-Ting Wu, MD, Jen-Chuen Hsieh, MD, PhD, Jing Xiong, MD, Chien-Fang Yang, MD, Huay-Ban Pan, MD, Yin-Ching Iris Chen, PhD, Guochuan Tsai, MD, PhD, Bruce R. Rosen, MD, PhD and Kenneth K. Kwong, PhD. "Acupuncture at LI.4 and ST.36 resulted in significantly higher scores for De-Qi and in substantial bradycardia. Acupuncture at both acupoints resulted in activation of the hypothalamus and nucleus accumbens and deactivation of the rostral part of the anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala formation, and hippocampal complex; control stimulations did not result in such activations and deactivations."[How to reference and link to summary or text]
- In a 2003 study of 40,000 different patients with pain, involving 7,300 practitioners, 89.9% experienced relief from pain after being treated with acupuncture. The coordinator of the study said that results "could have been skewed because a control group was not used to rule out the placebo effect". For full results of the study, conducted over two years, visit . (site in German; summary at external site.)
Safety and risks
Because acupuncture needles penetrate the skin, many forms of acupuncture are invasive procedures, and therefore not without risk. Injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners.
Certain forms of acupuncture such as the Japanese Tōyōhari and Shōnishin often use non-invasive techniques, in which specially-designed needles are rubbed or pressed against the skin. These methods are common in Japanese pediatric use.
Common, minor adverse events
A survey by Ernst et al. of over 400 patients receiving over 3500 acupuncture treatments found that the most common adverse effects from acupuncture were:
- Minor bleeding after removal of the needles, seen in roughly 3% of patients. (Holding a cotton ball for about one minute over the site of puncture is usually sufficient to stop the bleeding.)
- Hematoma, seen in about 2% of patients, which manifests as bruises. These usually go away after a few days.
- Dizziness, seen in about 1% of patients. Some patients have a conscious or unconscious fear of needles which can produce dizziness and other symptoms of anxiety. Patients are usually treated lying down in order to reduce likelihood of fainting.
The survey concluded: "Acupuncture has adverse effects, like any therapeutic approach. If it is used according to established safety rules and carefully at appropriate anatomic regions, it is a safe treatment method."
Infection is an important, and avoidable, risk that may arise due to use of unsterile or re-used needles. Reused needles can transfer blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. To address this risk, the use of sterile, single-use-only needles is mandated by law in some countries, including the United States.
Use of sterile needles is also mandated in parts of Australia (cf. above), but poorly enforced. In New South Wales, basic health risks have been recently reported:
- Environmental Health Team leaders classified acupuncture as a high-risk area. Procedures like bloodletting were being performed in one council area using un-sterilised needles. Other breaches of a serious nature include the re-use of single use needles. and - - :The evidence provided by City of Sydney Council concerning their results of their regular hygiene inspections convinced the Committee that the public would best be protected by leaving acupuncturists under local council jurisdiction until the profession as a whole has been upgraded to higher clinical and professional standards.
Other risks of injury from the insertion of acupuncture needles include:
- Nerve injury, resulting from the accidental puncture of any nerve.
- Brain damage or stroke, which is possible with very deep needling at the base of the skull.
- Pneumothorax from deep needling into the lung.
- Kidney damage from deep needling in the low back.
- Haemopericardium, or puncture of the protective membrane surrounding the heart, which may occur with needling over an occult sternal foramen (an undetectable hole in the breastbone which can occur in up to 10% of people).
- Risk of terminating pregnancy with the use of certain acupuncture points that have been shown to stimulate the production of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and oxytocin.
These risks can all be avoided through proper training of acupuncturists. Graduates of medical schools and (in the US) accreditated acupuncture schools receive thorough instruction in proper technique so as to avoid these events. (Cf. Cheng, 1987)
Risks from omitting orthodox medical care
Some western doctors believe that receiving any form of alternative medical care without also receiving orthodox western medical care is inherently risky, since undiagnosed disease may go untreated and could worsen. For this reason many acupuncturists and doctors prefer to consider acupuncture a complementary therapy rather than an alternative therapy.
Safety compared to other treatments
Commenting on the relative safety of acupuncture compared to other treatments, the NIH consensus panel stated that "(a)dverse side effects of acupuncture are extremely low and often lower than conventional treatments." They also stated:
- "the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same condition. For example, musculoskeletal conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and tennis elbow... are conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial. These painful conditions are often treated with, among other things, anti-inflammatory medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) or with steroid injections. Both medical interventions have a potential for deleterious side effects but are still widely used and are considered acceptable treatments."
In a Japanese survey of 55,291 acupuncture treatments given over five years by 73 acupuncturists, 99.8% of them were performed with no significant minor adverse effects and zero major adverse incidents (Hitoshi Yamashita, Bac, Hiroshi Tsukayama, BA, Yasuo Tanno, MD, PhD. Kazushi Nishijo, PhD, JAMA). Two combined studies in the UK of 66,229 acupuncture treatments yielded only 134 minor adverse events. (British Medical Journal 2001 Sep 1). The total of 121,520 treatments with acupuncture therapy were given with no major adverse incidents (for comparison, a single such event would have indicated a 0.002% incidence).
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Central Nervous Pathway for Acupuncture Stimulation: Localization of Processing with Functional MR Imaging of the Brain—Preliminary Experience1 Ming-Ting Wu, MD, Jen-Chuen Hsieh, MD, PhD, Jing Xiong, MD, Chien-Fang Yang, MD, Huay-Ban Pan, MD, Yin-Ching Iris Chen, PhD, Guochuan Tsai, MD, PhD, Bruce R. Rosen, MD, PhD and Kenneth K. Kwong, PhD
- Acupoint therapy
- Acupuncture detoxification
- Chin na
- Chinese martial arts
- Felix Mann
- Medical acupuncture
- T'ai Chi Ch'uan
- Traditional Chinese medicine
Consumer information from governmental bodies
- Acupuncture Fact Sheet - U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
- Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine - California Department of Consumer Affairs
- Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance (AOMAlliance) - U.S. organization representing L.Ac.'s and other AOM practitioners, e.g. M.D.'s and D.C.'s
- American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) - U.S. organization representing L.Ac.'s exclusively
- California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) - California organization representing L.Ac.'s exclusively
- Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) - U.S. organization representing acupuncture schools; also administers Clean Needle Technique (CNT) course required for American board certification
- National Acupuncture Detoxification Association - U.S. organization advocating use of auricular (ear) acupuncture for treating addiction
- The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) - UK organization representing acupuncturists
- National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) - U.S. organization that administers board certification exams in acupuncture and Oriental medicine
- Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) - National accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit Master's-level programs in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession in the U.S.
- Federation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Regulatory Agencies (FAOMRA) - State regulatory agency forum in the U.S.
Advocacy and discussion
- The Journal of Chinese Medicine - Theoretical and clinical articles
- Acupuncture.com.au - News and research. Detailed point and meridian information. Australian practitioner directory and events calendar.
- The Acupuncture Network - Forums, online education modules, wiki for Acupuncturists, based in Australia
- Acupuncture blog: research, news, thoughts - Acupuncture news, research and thoughts; based in New Zealand
- Acupuncture news, information, education, research and discussion - A regularly updated acupuncture newspaper and website based in the U.S.A.
- The Skeptic's Dictionary on acupuncture
- Quackwatch article on acupuncture
- Acupuncture: Nonsense With Needles - a report from a physician who visited China after Nixon
- A Neuroscientist Investigates Acupuncture - Robert Drysdale
- Chinese Acupuncture For Heart Surgery Anesthesia - Gary P. Posner, M.D. and Wallace Sampson, M.D.
- Needles and nerves, and Video - Alan Alda, PBS - Scientific American Frontiers special
- Frontline: the alternative fix: what is acupuncture? |PBS
- Acupuncture Provides Added Benefit for People with Osteoarthritis of the Knee
- Acupuncture -- Healing with the Touch of a Needle
· Almost everyone can benefit from acupuncture. · Traditionally acupuncture is used to treat illness, but also utilized as preventive medicine. · Even when there are no symptoms, acupuncture can help maintain a healthy immune system and work to prevent illness from occurring and reoccurring · Acupuncture can help cure anxiety states, arthritis, asthma, back pain, circulatory problems, depression, facial paralysis, fibrositis, high blood pressure, indeterminate aches and pains, infertility, menstrual problems, migraines, rheumatism, sciatica, skin conditions or ulcers · Acupuncture is also helpful for people trying to overcome addictions such as those related to smoking, alcohol, food or drugs. · Response to acupuncture can vary from one person to another. · The earliest recorded use of acupuncture dates from 200 BCE. · There are many different kinds of acupuncture, like TCM-based acupuncture, French energetic acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture, Auricular acupuncture, Myofascially-based acupuncture, Japanese styles of acupuncture · Acupuncture focuses on our qi, (pronounced 'chee') or vital energy. Qi circulates through our bodies in channels. As we go from day to day stress, injury or illness can cause this energy to become excessive, weak or blocked. Disease is considered to arise due to an excess, deficiency, blockage or imbalance of energy in the meridians and their associated physiological systems
http://www.acupuncture-treatment.com/benefits.html http://www.membrane.com/philanet/acupuncture/basics.html www.summertownclinic.co.uk/therapies/acuben.html www.chimedicineworks.com/benefits_oriental_medicine.html http://www.holisticonline.com/Acupuncture/acp_what_is.htm
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