What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical technique that involves insertion of very thin metal needles into the skin at specific points on the body to stimulate healing and promote relaxation with the aim of maintaining and restoring health. It is mainly used in pain management as well as for treating a variety of other medical conditions.

How does Acupuncture Work?

When an acupuncturist inserts needles at strategic points of your body, the needles are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, secretes chemicals into the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. These biochemical changes increase blood flow; trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving chemicals; and stimulate the body's natural healing properties to promote emotional and physical well-being.

Uses of Acupuncture

Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown acupuncture to be an effective remedy alone or in combination with standard therapies to treat the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myosfascial pain
  • Addiction
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Postoperative pain and nausea
  • Adverse reactions to radiation therapy/chemotherapy
  • Respiratory conditions, such as allergic rhinitis and asthma

Side Effects and Risks

Acupuncture is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any procedure, some risks and side effects may occur, such as:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising/swelling
  • Skin rashes
  • Allergic reactions
  • Infection
  • Nausea


Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis

Despite wide use in clinical practice, acupuncture remains a controversial treatment for chronic pain. Our objective was to update an individual patient data meta-analysis to determine the effect size of acupuncture for 4 chronic pain conditions. We searched MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials randomized trials published up until December 31, 2015.

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