Ancient medicine for modern ailments.
Acupuncture is one component of East Asian traditional medicine, and is over 2,000 years old. It consists of the insertion of thin, solid needles into the body at points located on energetic pathways, called meridians, that were discovered by the physicians of ancient China. These acupoints have been empirically proven to be effective at treating a wide variety of medical conditions. Acupuncture promotes the balanced flow of Xue (blood) and Qi (vital energy) by addressing the root of disharmony along with signs and symptoms. Since traditional Chinese medicine has evolved over a vast period of time, acupuncture theories are complex. In a nutshell, Qi is a term used to define the body's overall functioning ability. When it becomes blocked (for instance, from injury or trauma) or deficient (from chronic illness, insomnia, overwork, etc) or scattered (from stress), a disharmony in the flow of Qi occurs, and it is the job of the acupuncturist to improve and restore its proper flow as much as possible. Modern research has proven that acupuncture has a strengthening effect on the body's overall functionality by balancing hormone regulation, calming the nervous system, and boosting immunity.
Other components of East Asian traditional medicine include cupping (suction), gua sha (rubbing of the skin with a tool), moxibustion (warming acupoints indirectly with compressed herbs), electrical stimulation, acupressure, qi gong (movement techniques), herbal medicine, and nutritional counseling.
If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and East Asian medical theory, The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, by Ted Kaptchuk, is a great introductory reference.
Acupuncture has been reported by the World Health Organization to be effective at treating the following conditions:
Acute and chronic pain: musculoskeletal, arthritis, neuralgia, headaches, more info
Digestive: IBS, constipation, diarrhea, Crohn’s, indigestion, acid reflux, colitis
Cardiovascular: hypertension, anemia, circulatory problems
Respiratory: common cold, bronchitis, allergies, asthma
Gynecological and urogenital: issues affecting all genders, including irregular or painful menstruation, fertility, endometriosis, PMS/PMDD, PCOS, BPH, ED, pregnancy, postpartum, nursing, menopause, hormone therapy, more info
Chronic Illness: cancer treatment side effects, symptoms of autoimmune or infectious disease, i.e. MS, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, Lyme, etc.
Sleep: insomnia, somnolence
Psycho-emotional: stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief, death and dying
Cravings: smoking, appetite, etc.