People use acupuncture to relieve pain and treat certain health conditions. You can use it by itself or as part of a treatment program. Studies have found promising results for the use of acupuncture in treating nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, chemotherapy, and post-surgery pain. Acupuncture also may be useful for:
- Stroke rehabilitation, Headache, Migraines, Menstrual cramps
- Tennis elbow, Fibromyalgia, Myofascial pain, Osteoarthritis
- Low back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, or pressure on a nerve in the wrist that results in tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain of the fingers and hand.
- Asthma, or inflammation in the tubes that carry air to the lungs, resulting in periodic episodes of difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.
- Dental pain or TMJ.
- Labor pain.
Is acupuncture safe?
In general, acupuncture is safe when done by a certified acupuncturist. A state license ensures that the acupuncturist has a certain level of training and follows certain practice guidelines. But there are still a few states where acupuncture is not licensed.
In rare cases, complications or adverse events may occur. If the acupuncturist uses nonsterilized needles, there is a risk of infection. But acupuncturists today dispose of their needles after one use. Make sure the practitioner you visit uses sterilized or disposable needles.
For over 2000 years, Chinese acupuncturists have focused on and adjusted the subtle human energies known as "Qi". Modern scientists cannot explain how the ancient healing therapy works; they simply know that it does. Recent research has shown that acupuncture produces beneficial changes in the body's natural painkillers, anti-inflammatory agents, immune system functions, and hormonal activity.
For a more detailed discussion, read the Wiki page on Acupuncture.