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Acupuncture

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Acupuncture is a non-drug, non-invasive therapy that may produce a variety of benefits—from pain management to helping with nausea associated with chemotherapy.  According to the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 8.2 million Americans have been to an acupuncturist, and an estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults used acupuncture in the previous year.  Since the use of acupuncture has spread widely in the U.S. in the past 20 years, researchers are studyingthe benefits of acupuncture for many conditions, including low-back pain, headaches, and osteoarthritis of the knee.  Acupuncture may be useful as an independent treatment for some conditions, but it can also be used as a complement to other healthcare therapies.

 

The philosophy of acupuncture

One of the oldest healing arts, acupuncture originated in China and other Asian countries thousands of years ago.  Acupuncture practitioners believe that all illness is caused from interference with the flow of energy, also called chi.  To restore the balance, acupuncture stimulates specific points of the body through several techniques, including insertion of hair-thin metal needles through the skin.  In Chinese medicine, chi is believed to flow through pathways(meridians) in the body, which are accessible through more than 350 acupuncture points.

 

Western medicine explains the effect of acupuncture through stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue, which increases the body’s natural activity to regulate pain and increase blood flow.

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