Acupuncture originated in China and has been practiced there for thousands of years. It involves the insertion of extremely thin, sterile, disposable needles into specific points on the body along pathways called meridians. Traditional Chinese medicine looks at health from the standpoint of evaluating the flow and balance of the body’s life force known as qi or chi (both pronounced CHEE). When Qi is blocked on a particular meridian, you experience pain and disease. According to eastern though there are as many as 20 meridians and more than 2,000 acupuncture points found along them. Modern science has been studying acupuncture more and more because they are struggling to understand exactly how acupuncture works. Their studies have shown that there are changes happening in the human body with acupuncture treatments, including releasing neurotransmitters and affecting pain signals.
Acupuncture is most commonly used to relieve pain. However, the World Health Organization lists several diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved, through controlled trials, to be an effective treatment. A few of these are:
- adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
- allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
- facial pain
- induction of labor
- knee pain
- low back pain
- morning sickness
- nausea and vomiting
- neck pain
- postoperative pain
- renal colic (a type of pain caused by kidney stones)
- and MORE!
Acupuncture is occasionally covered by insurance. It is best to call the number on your policy card and ask if this is a covered service. Unfortunately, medicaid and medicare do not currently provide coverage for acupuncture.