Woman having acupuncture needles placed

Acupuncture is a form of therapy and alternative medicine based on inserting needles into specific points on the body and at various depths. It is commonly used combined with other treatments to relieve people from pain and boost their wellness, among other benefits.

This practice is based on philosophies and techniques of traditional Chinese medicine, which postulates that health is achieved when our complementary extremes, “yin and yang,” are in total balance. When these two forces are not balanced, illness appears.

These forces belong to our life force called “qi,” which travels through pathways in our bodies. Experts say that there are 350 points to access this energy. Acupuncture uses these points to balance the forces.

Benefits of acupuncture

Although there is still no clear scientific evidence of these energy pathways, several investigations suggest that stimuliing these specific points could increase blood circulation and activate our body´s natural painkillers.

It is believed that acupuncture is helpful to treat medical conditions, such as:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck, low back, spine, facial, dental, and knee pain
  • Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia and neuralgia
  • Post-operative rehabilitation
  • Nausea and vomiting induced by medical conditions like migraines, pregnancy or chemotherapy
  • Labor induction
  • Blood pressure conditions
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and drug addiction. '

Potential risks of acupuncture

Most of the risks of practicing acupuncture involve the moment of the needle insertion, possibly producing soreness, bleeding, and bruising. More rarely, the needle insertion could damage an internal organ such as the lung if inserted too deep into the thoracic cavity.

If the patient has conditions that affect blood fluidity, it may be dangerous to practice acupuncture as a treatment method. Also, if the practitioner does not correctly sterilize the needles, the patient may develop an infection.

For these reasons, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has developed norms and regulations for using needles and the licensed practitioners who apply them.

Also see:

Acupuncture: The Mayo Clinic 

For more info, click here and here.

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