Acupuncture is most commonly used for pain-related conditions, but its effects are inconsistent. It is also used for addictions, several mental disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease or cerebral palsy, and many other conditions. But there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for Acupuncture are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of acupuncture for these uses.
Acupuncture is a treatment method used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Acupuncture treatment involves inserting fine needles into specific parts or points on the body along pathways called "meridians." The purpose is to stimulate points that correspond to specific organs, emotions, or sensory feelings. For example, acupuncture around the ear, feet, and hands targets the pain of labor.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is thought that disease is caused by an imbalanced or blocked flow of energy or "qi." Therefore, acupuncture is thought to stimulate energy flow, unblock energy, and rebalance energy, which results in healing.
Most acupuncture points are located near nerves. Researchers suggest that inserting an acupuncture needle at these points may block pain signals.
Some experts also think that acupuncture might release natural chemicals called endorphins or opioids, which naturally reduce pain.
For depression and other mental conditions, acupuncture is thought to stimulate chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that allow nerve cells to communicate. Some researchers believe that acupuncture might increase the production and release of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that play a big role in depression.
Acupuncture is safe when used appropriately. Side effects are generally rare, but can include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, pain, fainting, and infection of the needle insertion points.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Acupuncture seems to be safe in pregnant and breast-feeding women when used appropriately. Researchers who studied the effects of acupuncture on labor pain reported no harm or serious side effects among the women participating in the study.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The appropriate or safe use of acupuncture depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.
Acuponcture, Acuponcture Auriculaire, Acuponcture Chinoise, Acuponcture Coréenne, Acuponcture Japonaise, Acuponcture de la Main, Acuponcture Occidentale, Acuponcture de l'Oreille, Acuponcture du Pied, Acupuntura, Auricular Acupuncture, Chinese Acupuncture, Ear Acupuncture, Foot Acupuncture, Hand Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture, Korean Acupuncture, Needle Moxibustion, Single Point Acupuncture, Trigger Point Acupuncture, Western Acupuncture.
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