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What is acupuncture and what does it treat?

I’m sure you have heard about acupuncture before and may have wondered:  What is acupuncture? What can acupuncture treat?  And, most importantly, can it help you?  Acupuncture is part of a complete medical system called Chinese Medicine which was developed thousands of years ago and is comprised of acupuncture, chinese herbs, cupping, moxa, dietary recommendations and various body work.  Most anything that Western medicine can treat, Chinese Medicine can treat as well.   So, a better question may be:  what can’t Chinese Medicine treat?  In our culture, we tend to call it “alternative” medicine but Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years while our allopathic medicine is only about 150 years old.   Acupuncture involves the use of tiny, very fine, sterile, disposable needles which are inserted into various acupuncture points on the body.  There are literally hundreds of points on the body and depending on the ailment, points are selected and utilized.  Chinese Medicine is a holistic medicine and is based on the idea that if the body is balanced, there will not be illness and if there is disharmony in the body, it has the ability to heal itself through the use of acupuncture and herbs.  A course of treatment is usually 4 - 10 treatments but since everyone is different, it will depend on the severity of the disharmony, how long the ailment has been present, and the body's response to treatment.  Western and Chinese Medicine can be utilized and integrated for optimal health.  However, acupuncture can treat many ailments without the use of pharmaceuticals, undesirable side effects or costly co pays and procedures.  And to answer the question on everyone's mind;  No, it does not hurt.

So, can acupuncture help you? The World Health Organization has listed these conditions as well as many others that have been proven through controlled trials to be an effective treatment for:
 
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy 
Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
Biliary colic
Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Dysentery, acute bacillary
Dysmenorrhoea, primary
Epigastralgia, acute (in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm)
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Headache
Hypertension, essential
Hypotension, primary
Induction of labour
Knee pain
Leukopenia
Low back pain
Malposition of fetus, correction of
Morning sickness
Nausea and vomiting
Neck pain
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of shoulder
Postoperative pain
Renal colic
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sciatica
Sprain
Stroke
Tennis elbow
 
These are just some of the conditions that have been successfully treated by acupuncture. There are literally hundreds of other conditions that individuals have resolved through Chinese Medicine. 
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