What is acupuncture and what are its benefits?

Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points (acupoints). By stimulating these acupoints, it enables the ability of the body to correct any imbalances in the body. This is done by correcting the flow of qi that is found running along what are considered to be lines of energy (meridians) and can treat a wide range of disorders. In acupuncture, the acupoints can be stimulated in other different methods that do not involve needles, such as moxibustion, cupping, laser therapy, electro-stimulation and massage, to help in re-establishing the flow of qi.

Acupuncture is said to have originated from China and dates back at least 2500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for the diseases that manifest.

28 conditions have been recognized by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be effectively treated by acupuncture but evidence suggests that it may have an effective therapeutic value on many more.

The benefits of acupuncture include:

  • It is a natural form of healing
  • Provides drug-free pain relief
  • Can effectively treat a wide range of conditions, both acute and chronic
  • Provides an holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illnesses, linking them to the body, mind and emotions
  • Can help with an individual’s general wellbeing and assist in the prevention of disease and illness that may impact the individual
  • Allows an alternative treatment to people who dislike taking pain medications

There are no major side effects from acupuncture, especially if the practitioner is well-trained. The most serious (but rare) injury that can occur from a well-trained practitioner would be piercing an organ, other than that, bruising from piercing a blood vessel is the most probable side effect from an acupuncture treatment.