All About Acupuncture

Usually, when you say the word “acupuncture,” people tend to cringe.  Many people believe it is a strange and painful process where you are ruthlessly jabbed with needles.  However, acupuncture has a very long and well-established history of healing.  If you are considering acupuncture or you’d just like to learn more about it, we’ve got all the facts right here.

What is it?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice.  In this practice, needles are inserted into a person’s body in order to relieve pain or improve health.  The needles are gently inserted into various acupuncture points around the body that are believed to stimulate the nervous system.  For example, constipation or stomach illnesses may be treated by inserting a needle under the left knee.  (For a full chart of acupuncture points, click here.)  The needles may be twisted and manipulated, as well, after entering the body.  They are then left in the body from 15-30 minutes.  Usually, the patient needs several treatments for best results.   

How did it come about?
Acupuncture dates back thousands of years.  The earliest recorded evidence of acupuncture was found to be in the 2nd century BC, but some people suggest that it dates back up to 8000 years.  Its exact origins are unknown, but it certain that acupuncture originated in China.  It later went on to spread throughout Asia, specifically Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and several other countries.  It made its first movement to Europe in the 16th century, when Portuguese missionaries described it upon their return from Asia.  Acupuncture didn’t have a strong presence in American culture until the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the practice is still considered a bit unconventional in Western culture.   

What does it treat?

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture states that acupuncture can be used to complement the treatment of anything from muscle spasms and headaches to anorexia and persistent hiccups.  You can see a full list of the conditions that it treats here.  Acupuncture, however, is most commonly used to relieve pain.

Does it hurt?

The general consensus is that it feels like plucking a hair.  You may feel a very slight discomfort upon insertion, but the process should be fairly painless.  Many people say that once the needle is inserted, they don’t feel a thing. 

Where can I have it done?
Acupuncture is offered in locations all around the world.  To find your nearest acupuncturist, click here.

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