Acupuncture has a 3000 year history that is based upon Eastern or Chinese Medicine’s concepts that are explained using the idea of something called chi (qi) energy. Qi is considered to be the “stuff” that warms the body, fights disease and links all parts and functions of the body. Qi circulates through out the body along meridians or channels. When there is not enough qi or the flow stagnates then symptoms arise. Acupuncture therapy is given using very fine needles that are inserted into specific points with a goal of promoting healthy body function by normalizing the flow of qi.
To explain acupuncture from the western medicine standpoint you must understand that diseases and injuries are resolved by a complex set of physiological responses; the responses are coordinated by several signaling systems. The signaling systems mainly involve peptides and other small biochemicals that are released, travel to other sites, interact with cells, and stimulate various biologically programmed responses. Modern studies have revealed that acupuncture stimulates one or more of the signaling systems, which can, under certain circumstances, increase the rate of healing response. This may be enough to cure a disease, or it might only reduce its impact (alleviate some symptoms). These findings can explain most of the clinical effects of acupuncture therapy.
In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:
A treatment protocol and the acupuncture points to be used are determined based on an assessment which includes observation and questioning. Needles are then inserted into the acupuncture points. The needles are very fine, single-use, disposable & pre-sterilized. The skin is cleaned with alcohol just prior to needle insertion. Needle insertion is not associated with pain, but often a prick sensation followed by dullness, heaviness or other sensations like tingling or itching. The needles are retained at the points for 20–50 minutes.