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Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Behind this treatment is the belief that life energy (called Qi) flows through the body. It's thought that health is at its best when Qi is balanced.  Male acupuncturist by patient, pointing at acupuncture point on model.

Improved energy flow

Acupuncturists focus on a vital energy called Qi (pronounced "chee"). They believe that Qi flows through a complex group of pathways (meridians or channels). Thin needles are put into the body at precise locations called acupoints. This is thought to help the body unblock channels and improve the flow of Qi. Different acupoints may have different health effects. In some cases, certain herbs are burned in a controlled manner near or over an acupoint. Using herbs in this way is called moxibustion.

Acupuncturists are trained to spot problems with Qi flow early to prevent future problems. They may do this by asking health questions, checking your pulse at the wrist, and looking at your tongue. This helps them find a problem sometimes even before you can tell that something is wrong.

Why get this care?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said that acupuncture may be helpful for treating certain conditions. These include addiction withdrawal, pain, nausea, hay fever, high blood pressure, and various other health problems. Acupuncturists will often treat a wider range of conditions. These include anxiety disorders or depression, digestive problems, headaches, and much more.

Questions for the acupuncturist

Before you decide to have acupuncture to treat a health problem, talk with an acupuncturist. Asking some of these questions may help you make an informed decision:

  • What is your training? How long have you been practicing?

  • What risks do I need to know about?

  • Have you treated problems like mine?

  • What will a typical visit be like?

  • Do you use disposable needles?

  • Will I feel the needles?

  • How long will treatment take and how much will it cost?

  • Will my insurance pay for your services?

To learn more

For more information, visit these websites:

  • American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, www.aaaomonline.org

  • National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, www.nccaom.org

  • American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, www.medicalacupuncture.org

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Paula Goode RN BSN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2020
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