What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

What Is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

Acupuncture is one name, which we often read whenever it comes to the alternative therapies. It is one of the oldest treatment options, which was practiced by the trained practitioners for healing some diseases.

Acupuncture is a universal treatment that origins from traditional Chinese therapies. It is a method in which different needles are inserted into the skin at various points. These points are well defined before the procedure.

Today acupuncture has been proven to be one excellent option to treat diseases, pains, stress and much more. Historically, acupuncture is as old as three thousand year. It is modified in all times and what we see today is the most modern form of it.

For more details on what is acupuncture, how does it work and in what conditions you can try it, continue reading the article till the end.

How famous is Acupuncture?

In the USA, the trend of alternate therapy has become famous lately. The National Institute of Health surveyed in 2007, which proved that the number of acupuncture users gradually increased drastically between 1997 and 2007. It was around 3 million people.

The needles involved in this process give an idea of it to be very painful. But to your surprise, it is completely pain-free. It depends on the experience and skills of the practitioner that it turns painless for you.

It is a natural way, which doesn’t need any medication. In that case, there is no need that it will have side effects or cause a problem in later years. It has been a part of various research studies, all of which declare it to be effective.

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture can treat so many health conditions. For example, it is beneficial in the following situations.

  • Muscle pains
  • Muscle spasms
  • Back pain and related problems
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Neck pains
  • Allergies
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Digestive issues
  • Stress
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Knee pain and much more

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Is Acupuncture safe to try?

The risk with any treatment options is a calculated one. Gladly, with acupuncture, this risk is minimal. The national institute of health has declared acupuncture to be safe when an experienced practitioner does it with all hygienic parameters followed.

Acupuncture needles are different which should be sterile and non-toxic for the safe treatment. They are formulated to be only used once. There are rarely any complications that are due to the acupuncture.

The risk factor somehow always lasts. It’s just that it is significantly low as compared to the other treatment options. If the hygienic measure are not followed, and contaminated needles are used, or an improper practice is followed, they can show up side effects.

One thing that you must know is that acupuncture is not the only treatment option. It is a compliment method, which is usually used as an additional thing, along with the regular treatment. It’s not surgery, which will make you, fit after completion.

What are the benefits that you can get from Acupuncture?

There are certain conditions in which using acupuncture as an additional therapy works magic. For example, you can use it against the following medical conditions.

  • For headaches and migraine

Acupuncture is very effective against a headache especially a migraine. The research proves that it is a non-pharmacological treatment option for acute and chronic both conditions.

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  • For pains

Acupuncture is helpful for all types of pain. Be it a casual fatigue type pain or an outcome of a chronic pain disorder; acupuncture works well for all. It is particularly helpful against a backache, neck ache, knee pain and chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.

  • For sleep regulation

For a stress-free routine, it is important that you should follow a regular sleep cycle. Common day-to-day fatigue may disturb your sleep cycle and makes you suffer from insomnia, which is a condition in which you are unable to sleep.

Acupuncture is said to be effective against regulation of sleep. It also ensures that all sleep-related problems especially insomnia is under control.

  • Cancer recovery

Acupuncture improves the functioning of the body. It promotes the process of natural healing, especially from a disease. As per research, it has been a proven help in cancer recovery.

  • For cognitive boost

With age, it is common to experience from cognitive decline. Your memory may get weaker, and you are more related to face particular issues like Parkinson’s. The age linked cognitive decline can be controlled with acupuncture too.

What is the mechanism of work of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is not just one process. It is a set up which has numerous processes involved in it. The idea of treatment by inserting needles sounds painful, but actually, none of these procedures are pain causing.

There are specific points on the body, which involve in particular types of stimulation. This stimulation has to be made through a semi-natural mechanism. In acupuncture, the tool, which is used, is a needle.

It is not an automatic process. The practitioner performs it by hand. You can say that it is a matter of on-hand experience to make your treatment efficient.

The practitioner inserts specific needles to some pre-determined points on the body. This insertion is slowly, and the needle size is so thought that it doesn’t feel much. AT one time only 10-20 needles are used.

Some advanced treatments using acupuncture use electric stimulations too along with needles or without needles.

Is Acupuncture a valid option to try?

For chronic pains and low immunity, the benefits of acupuncture are numerous. There is plenty of research data to tell that this process works and helps to decrease the signs and symptoms of the disease against which you are using it.

The needle insertion may sound insane for a person who doesn’t know how this all works. But to tell you the trust, the scientists have analyzed the strategic placement of these needles and how would it benefit you.

It is not a single process that you can rely upon. However, it is one of the best options to consider if you want to try an additional help. Not only acupuncture treatments heal the problem for that time, but also they are useful for the long term.

Are there any possible side effects of acupuncture?

There are no as such damaging effects that acupuncture can cause to you. There is no surgery, no medicine involved which can go wrong and cause an unwanted impact to you.

The most common side effect that can ever happen is when you are not getting the acupuncture treatment from an expert. He may not be skillful enough to insert needles the right way. Also, the wrong insertion can cause minor wounds on the body.

The serious side effect from poor acupuncture practice is that when the practitioner accidentally punctures the lungs. It has highest risks involved than all other mistaken punctures. The lungs can collapse partially.

This partial collapse of lungs is called pneumothorax. It can also cause viral hepatitis, which is an infection of the liver. The contaminated needles may bring this hepatitis virus to the patient.

There are other infections too that can affect the patient if non-hygienic measures are followed. For example, bacterial infections to hit at the point of needle insertion are one common thing.

To avoid all such side effects, risks and complications, it is necessary to get acupuncture done through a certified practitioner. Make sure that you have made a good selection while booking your appointment with the acupuncture practitioner.


  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/acupuncture/basics/definition/prc-20020778
  • https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/ss/slideshow-acupuncture-overview
  • http://www.acupuncture.com/
  • http://bastyrcenter.org/services/acupuncture-east-asian-medicine

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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