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Acupuncture: Understanding the Basics

By Expert HERWriter
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Wellness related image Photo: Getty Images

With the current increase in interest in alternative medicine, complementary medicine and natural medicine, people are looking into acupuncture as a way to regain their optimal health.

According to Medlineplus.com, the definition of acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles into specific body parts to improve overall health and well-being. I think that this is a correct assessment of the technique of acupuncture.

I also know that the practice of acupuncture is more than just technique. It is an entire system of medicine that seeks to understand the imbalance that is being created in the body and then treat that imbalance, using a combination of techniques that includes the use of needles in the treatment.

Acupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago as a form of medicine that sought to balance the life force, or qi, because when the qi is interrupted illness can result.

Practitioners use a combination of symptoms, feeling pulses and tongue diagnosis, to understand any imbalances in the qi and then create a plan of points that will rebalance the qi, restoring well-being. Often there are instructions on dietary support or herbal medicines or teas that my also be included as part of the treatment plan.

One of the challenges to making acupuncture more mainstream in the United States is that it is difficult to do double-blind studies to provide scientifically recognized "proof" of its effectiveness in many diseases.

Acupuncture has been proven effective in treating pain, nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and after chemotherapy. Acupuncture works because it stimulates and corrects the energetic systems in the body.

Current medical technologies are not advanced enough to be able to accurately measure energetic body systems yet. As a result it is important to realize that just because acupuncture has not be studied for a specific treatment doesn’t mean that it cannot be effective as a treatment method.

If you are considering acupuncture it is important to talk to your practitioner and see if you feel comfortable with their practices and treatment protocols before you begin working with them.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.