Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It involves the use of sterile, hair-fine needles that are inserted in the body at very specific points. The needles target the body’s natural life force, also called qi (chi). Emotional stress, environmental toxins, poor diet, and lack of exercise disrupt the free flow of qi along the body’s energy pathways. The result is often disease, pain, and fatigue. The acupuncture points are areas of designated electrical sensitivity. There are thousands of acupuncture points along the body and around 360 are commonly used. Inserting needles at these points stimulates various sensory receptors that, in turn, stimulate nerves that transmit impulse to the hypothalamic-pituitary system at the base of the brain. This is the area of the brain where neurotransmitters and endorphins are released. Endorphins are our body’s natural painkillers and are said to be up to 200 times more powerful than morphine. This helps us understand why acupuncture works so well in the treatment of pain while also relaxing the entire body.
TCM has been around for over 4,000 years compared to the only 100 years of Western medicine. It is being practiced in all 50 states, and over 4,000 MDs include it in their practices. Over 15 million Americans have used it as a form of therapy. Many insurance plans now cover acupuncture as well.
The World Health Organization (WHO), whose authority concerning health-related matters internationally cannot be challenged, has compiled a list of symptoms, syndromes, disease processes, pathologies, traumas, and conditions that have definitely been proven as effectively treated by acupuncture. The WHO has also compiled a list of diseases, symptoms, and conditions for which acupuncture has shown definite therapeutic effects.
In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO has listed the following symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture: