How Does It Work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” of the life force known as “qi,” pronounced “chi.” Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces.

Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridians and energy flows are accessible through 350 acupuncture points in the body.

Research carried out in Germany has shown that acupuncture may help relieve tension headaches and migraines.

The NCCIH note that it has been proven to help in cases of:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Knee Pain
  • Headache and Migraine

They list additional disorders that may benefit from acupuncture, but which require further scientific confirmation.

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in which they say acupuncture has been proven effective.

These include:

  • Haigh and Low Blood Pressure
  • Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting
  • Some Gastric Conditions, Including Peptic Ulcer
  • Painful Periods
  • Dysentery
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • Facial Pain
  • Morning Sickness
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sprains
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Sciatica
  • Dental Pain
  • Reducing the Risk of Stroke
  • Inducing Labor

Other conditions for which the WHO say that acupuncture may help but more evidence is needed include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuralgia
  • Post-Operative Convalescence
  • Substance, Tobacco and Alcohol Dependence
  • Spine Pain
  • Stiff Neck
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Whooping Cough or Pertussis
  • Tourette Syndrome

The WHO also suggests that it may help treat a number of infections, including some urinary tract infections and epidemic hemorrhagic fever.

They point out, however, that “only national health authorities can determine the diseases, symptoms, and conditions for which acupuncture treatment can be recommended.”

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