The origins of acupuncture can be traced back over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest health care systems in the world. Today, acupuncture supports the treatment of a wide number of conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine, sterile, single use, disposable needles into specific sites (acupuncture points) along the body’s energy pathways (meridians) to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of energy, or Qi, through the body.
The practitioner may also stimulate the acupuncture points using other methods, including acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, laser therapy, electro-stimulation and massage, in order to rebalance the flow of qi.
Of the 122 conditions reviewed, evidence of effect was found at various levels for 117 conditions. The findings of the review include:
Conditions with strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture included allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal), knee osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics), migraine prophylaxis, chronic low back pain, postoperative nausea & vomiting, headache (tension-type and chronic) and postoperative pain.
Conditions with moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture included acute low back pain, acute stroke, neck pain, obesity, anxiety, perimenopausal and postmenopausal insomnia, asthma in adults, post-traumatic stress disorder, constipation, hypertension (with medication), irritable bowel syndrome and menopausal hot flushes.