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What is acupuncture?

Image by Joyce McCown

Acupuncture involves the insertion of small, solid metallic needles into the skin, which are then manipulated by the practitioner's hands using delicate, specific movements or by electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture is a method of Traditional Chinese medicine with thousands of years of history.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that acupuncture points in the human body are connected by channels or meridians.

These pathways allow energy (Qi, pronounced "chee") to flow through the body, which is beneficial to overall health.

A interruption in the energy flow can result in disease.

Acupuncture is said to improve Qi flow by applying pressure to the skin.

What does acupuncture feel like?

Hair-thin needles are used in acupuncture.

When the needle is inserted, most patients report only minor discomfort.

The needle is put into a spot that causes a pressure or pain sensation.

During the therapy, the needles may be heated or a small electric current applied to them.

Acupuncture has been said to make people feel invigorated, others claim to be at ease.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a list of illnesses for which acupuncture has been shown to be helpful in 2003.


These are some of them:

  • High and low blood pressure

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well as other gastrointestinal

  • disorders, such as peptic ulcers, can result in painful periods.

  • facial pain dysentery allergic rhinitis dysentery

  • morning sickness

  • sprains caused by rheumatoid arthritis

  • Sciatica tennis elbow

  • Dental discomfort induces labor by lowering the risk of stroke.

Back pain relief

  • Actual acupuncture was found to be more helpful than no treatment or simulated acupuncture in alleviating back and neck pain in a 2012 examination of data from acupuncture study participants.

  • According to a 2010 research by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, acupuncture relieved low-back discomfort immediately after treatment but not for long periods of time.

  • Researchers found considerable evidence that combining acupuncture with conventional care is more beneficial than standard care alone in a systematic analysis of trials on acupuncture for low-back pain published in 2008. The same study found considerable evidence that there is no difference in the effectiveness of actual and simulated acupuncture in those with low back pain.

  • According to clinical practice guidelines released by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians in 2007, acupuncture is one of several nondrug approaches that physicians should examine when patients with persistent low-back pain do not respond to self-care. (practices that people may perform on their own, such as staying active, applying heat, and using pain relievers)

Osteoarthritis / Knee Pain

  • A 2014 Australian clinical study involving 282 men and women indicated that needle and laser acupuncture were modestly better than no treatment at reducing knee pain from osteoarthritis, but not better than simulated (sham) laser acupuncture. Participants received 8 to 12 acupuncture treatments, both real and virtual, over the course of 12 weeks. Acupuncture improves osteoarthritis pain better than no treatment.

  • Actual acupuncture was found to be more effective for osteoarthritis pain than simulated acupuncture or no acupuncture in a major 2012 examination of data on participants in acupuncture studies.

  • A comprehensive analysis of studies of acupuncture for knee or hip osteoarthritis published in 2010 found that actual acupuncture was more effective than simulated acupuncture or no acupuncture for osteoarthritis pain.
    The difference between actual and simulated acupuncture, on the other hand, was minor, although the difference between acupuncture and no acupuncture was significant.


  • A 2012 examination of data from individual participants in acupuncture research focused on migraine and tension headaches. Actual acupuncture was found to be more effective than no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture in reducing headache frequency and severity.

  • According to a systematic review of data published in 2009, actual acupuncture, rather than simulated acupuncture or pain-relieving drugs, helped those with tension-type headaches. According to a systematic review of trials published in 2008, actual acupuncture had a modest advantage over simulated acupuncture in terms of lowering tension-type headache intensity and the number of headache days per month.

  • Combining acupuncture with normal migraine treatment, according to a comprehensive review published in 2009, reduced migraine frequency.

    In tests comparing the two therapies, however, researchers discovered that differences between actual acupuncture and simulated acupuncture could have been due to chance.

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