Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the use of sharp, thin needles that are inserted in the body at very specific points. This process is believed to adjust and alter the body's energy flow (Qi) into healthier patterns, and is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for over forty medical problems, including:
Arthritis and pain management
Asthma & Respiratory Disorders
Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
Endometriosis, PMS, OB/GYN
Infertility & Impotence
Acupuncture has also been used in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. In 2002, a center in Maine received a unique grant to study acupuncture treatment for substance abuse. Although recognizing that acupuncture had been used before for helping those with abuse, this study sought to show that ear acupuncture's effects on relaxation response helped those abusing drugs and alcohol better deal with the anxiety and life circumstances thought to lead them to substance abuse. Ear acupuncture is often used in community style treatments because it is a powerful adjunct to regular needles.
Acupuncture is an effective and low-cost treatment for headaches and chronic pain, associated with problems like back injuries and arthritis. It has also been used to supplement invasive Western treatments like chemotherapy and surgery. Acupuncture is generally most effective when used as prevention or before a health condition becomes acute, but it has been used to help patients suffering from cancer and AIDS . In 2002, the National Institutes of Health announced that pain from certain musculoskeletal conditions like fibromyalgia could be helped by acupuncture. Acupuncture is limited in treating conditions or traumas that require surgery or emergency care (such as for broken bones).
Chinese Herbal Medicine
The Chinese Materia Medica (a pharmacological reference book used by TCM practitioners) describes thousands of medicinal substances—primarily plants, but also some minerals and animal products. Different parts of plants, such as the leaves, roots, stems,flowers, and seeds, are used. In TCM, herbs are often combined in formulas and given as teas,capsules, liquid extracts, granules, or powders.