Acupuncture





Johns Hopkins MedicineJOHNS HOPKINS MEDICINEMENU

Friction

Suction (cupping)

Impulses of electromagnetic energy

How does acupuncture affect the body?

Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment alone or in combination with conventional therapies to treat the following:

Nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy

Dental pain after surgery

Addiction

Headaches

Menstrual cramps

Tennis elbow

Fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain

Osteoarthritis

Low back pain

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Asthma

It may also help with stroke rehabilitation.

What conditions may benefit from acupuncture?

Many Americans seek acupuncture treatment for relief of chronic pain, such as arthritis or low back pain. Acupuncture, however, has expanded uses in other parts of the world. Before considering acupuncture, talk to your doctor. Conditions that may benefit from acupuncture include the following:

DigestiveEmotionalGastritis
Irritable bowel syndrome
Hepatitis
HemorrhoidsAnxiety
Depression
Insomnia
Nervousness
Neurosis
Eye-Ear-ThroatGynecologicalRhinitis
Sinusitis
Sore throatMenstrual pain
Infertility
MusculoskeletalNeurologicalArthritis
Back pain
Muscle cramping
Muscle pain and weakness
Neck pain
SciaticaHeadaches
Migraines
Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
Parkinson's disease
Postoperative pain
Stroke
RespiratoryMiscellaneousAllergic rhinitis
Sinusitis
BronchitisIrritable bladder
Prostatitis
Male infertility
Some forms of impotence
Addiction

Considerations when choosing acupuncture

Because scientific studies have not fully explained how acupuncture works within the framework of Western medicine, acupuncture remains a source of controversy. It is important to take precautions when deciding about acupuncture.

Discuss acupuncture with your doctor first. Acupuncture is not for everyone. Discuss all the treatments and medicines (dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter) you are taking. If you have a pacemaker, are at risk for infection, have chronic skin problems, are pregnant, or have breast or other implants, be sure to tell your doctor. Acupuncture may be risky to your health if you fail to mention these matters.

Do not rely on a diagnosis of disease by an acupuncture practitioner. If you have received a diagnosis from a doctor, you may wish to ask him or her whether acupuncture might help.

Choose a licensed acupuncture practitioner. Your own doctor may be a good resource for referrals to a licensed or certified practitioner. Friends and family members may also be good sources of referrals. You do not have to be a doctor to practice acupuncture or to become a certified acupuncturist. About 30 states have established training standards for certification in acupuncture, although not all states require acupuncturists to get a license to practice. Although not all certified acupuncturists are doctors, the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture can provide a referral list of doctors who practice acupuncture.

Consider costs and insurance coverage. Before starting treatment, ask the acupuncturist about the number of treatments needed and how much the treatments will cost. Some insurers cover the cost of acupuncture while others do not. It is important to know before you start treatment whether acupuncture is covered by your insurance.

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