Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate and balance the body's energy flow, known as "qi" or "chi." According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi flows through meridians or pathways in the body, and disruptions or imbalances in this flow can lead to pain and health imbalances.
The needles are typically left in place for a short period of time, and the sensation experienced by the patient can vary from a mild tingling to a slight ache.
Over the years, acupuncture has gained attention and acceptance in Western countries as a complementary or alternative therapy for a range of conditions. Scientific research has explored its potential benefits and mechanisms, with some studies suggesting that acupuncture may have positive effects on pain perception, inflammation, and neurological processes. Modern scientific understanding of acupuncture suggests that the practice may stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissues, leading to various physiological effects. These effects can include the release of endorphins (natural painkillers), improved blood circulation, and modulation of the body's inflammatory response.
During an acupuncture session, a trained practitioner inserts very fine needles into specific points on the body. The selection of these points is based on the patient's symptoms and the practitioner's diagnosis. The needles are typically left in place for a short period, usually around 15 to 30 minutes. Some practitioners might also stimulate the needles by gently twisting or manipulating them, applying heat (moxibustion), or using electrical stimulation.