Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese healing art that has been used for thousands of years to cure all types of ailments. Today, it is regarded as a form of alternative medicine. However, there still are millions of people who are a living proof that acupuncture is more than just an alternative. It is a sort of holistic medicine that can be used to treat most of the modern-day health conditions.

For example, there is a mounting evidence that acupuncture is an effective remedy for pain. Since entire classes of pain medications come under fire for raising cardiac risks, many chronic pain sufferers are turning to this ancient Chinese treatment.

Acupuncture can be used for practically any medical condition as a primary or complementary treatment. Many patients with an acute physical problem that does not seem to be improving with conventional medical therapies should try this alternative.

In fact, three out of every four adults have already used some type of complementary or alternative medicine, such as acupuncture. Today, nearly 40% of hospitals offer complementary or alternative medicine therapies and acupuncture is among the most popular. Treatment can be performed even in the emergency room and, for most patients, it is effective, especially for headache or back pain.

In the meantime, acupuncture is used in detoxification programs in many hospitals and clinics across the United States. Studies have shown that acupuncture may help treat morning sickness symptoms, reduce pain during labor, reduce nausea and vomiting as well as pain after surgery, speed up post-surgery recovery and relieve muscle pain and stiffness due to fibromyalgia. Other reports suggest that it may help alcoholics kick their addiction, lower blood pressure (although contradictory findings also exist) and even boost women's fertility by increasing the flow of blood to reproductive organs and lowering stress levels.

Many experts believe there will always be some level of mystery to acupuncture. This ancient healing art is based on the concept of qi (also called chi), or energy, which is believed to flow in meridians or pathways throughout the body. Pain is thought to inhibit the flow of qi; acupuncture should restore this flow. Yet, qi is intangible. You cannot see it, touch it or feel it.

Acupuncture, though safe in the right hands, is not completely without its risks. Improper needling can puncture an organ or lead to cross infection. Researchers have also reported that some patients experienced nausea, vomiting as well as fainting and sometimes even increased pain after treatment. Despite such rare incidents, acupuncture is seen as very safe when compared with corresponding medical treatments.