What is Acupuncture? How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy which promotes body's self-healing process by stimulating acupuncture points. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy that body remains healthful when two opposing forces, Yin (Universe) and Yang (Body), are in balance. There is a constant flow of energy along specific path (meridians) through 350 Acupuncture points of the body, this keeps Yin and Yang balanced. When the flow of energy is disrupted, body experiences pain/illness. Acupuncture releases blocked energy and helps in bringing Yin and Yang back to a balance, thus enhances self-healing process of the body.

Native to China, Acupuncture therapy has recently gained popularity in Europe, the US and Canada for innumerous health benefits that it provides. Acupuncture is believed to enhance self healing mechanism by:

Improving the speed of transmission of electromagnetic signals in body. This releases endorphins, naturral painkillers of the body, or releases immune system cells in the body

Enhancing release of Opioids, chemicals known to lessen pain and promote sleep.

Changing chemistry of the brain by alternating release of Neurotransmitters and Neurohormones. While Neurotransmitters stimulate/dampen impulses of nerve, Neurohormones could affect activity of a body organ.

The common Acupuncture method for stimulation involves insertion of fine needles in patient's skin at different points in body. These needles are inserted to diffrent depths through patient's skin. Heat, Presure and electric stimulation could further enhance effects of acupuncture. Other techniques for Acupuncture point stimulation include manual massage, cupping, heat therapy, and application of herbs. Acupuncture points are located on meridians through which flow of vital energy happens. Since there is limited scientific proof for existence of such meridians or acupuncture points, the modern scientific community is divided on benefits of Acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture Benefits

Acupuncture therapy is considered very safe and has very few side effects. Several studies/research have established beneficial effects of Acupuncture on Nervous system, Immune system, cardiovascular system, Endocrine and digestive system. Acupuncture is also beneficial in pain management, improving sleep and enhancing overall wellbeing, Acupuncture is known to benefit in alleviation of symptoms in conditions of Stress, Osteoarthritis, High Blood Pressure, Nausea caused by chemotherapy, Headaches/ Migrains, Hypertension, Fibromyalgia, Hot Flashes-during menopause and Xerostomia-serve dry mouth. As per WHO (World Health Organization), Acupuncture effectively treats 28 conditions. In practice, however, conditions which could be treated through Acupuncture could be many more.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture therapy is known to help people lose belly fat. Ear Acupuncture therapy is useful for enabling weight loss. Sections of the outer earrepresent different body parts. An Acupuncture therapist either inserts one needle in the part of the ear which is linked to hunger/apetite or inserts five needles in different parts of the ear. While hunger acupuncture is very convenient, continuos five point acupuncture is more effective for people suffering from central obesity.

Acupuncture for Back Pain

Back pain is among top reasons for people to seek acupuncture, Physicians recommend that acupuncture be given as an alternate therapy to patients who have not been benefitted from regular treatments.

Acupuncture for Fertility

Acupuncture along with herbal medicine has been used for centuries for treating problems related to feritility. Acupuncture works by addressing underlying problems which affect Fertility. Acupuncture could be used for treating spasmed tubes, which could be de-spasmed through acupuncture. Blocked tubes, however, do not respond to acupuncture. Acupuncture is also used, in combination with herbal remedies, to treat unexplained infertility, elevated level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), luteal phase defect, PCOS, Hyperprolactinemia. Acupuncture is also effective in treating men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Acupuncture also improves conditions such as Hypothyroidism which are known to impact fertility. Evidently, all cause of infertility cannot be cured solely by Acupuncture. For instance acupuncture may not work for improving tubal adhesions caused due to endometriosis, pelvis inflammatory disease. Acupuncture and herbs could still help the patient by improving blood flow into endomtrial, thus facilitating a rich lining. Also acupuncture and herbs could benefit the patient by improving ovarian and follicular function.

Acupuncture treatment is typically continued for first first three months after conception since most miscarriages occur within three months of conception.

Acupuncture for Stress

Acupuncture is know to alleviate chronic stress. Experiments performed on rats suggest that acupuncture has similar results as antidepressant drugs


Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and tenderness. According to a study, although there is no cure for this condition. Acupuncture brings some respite.