Health Questions and Answers

Question: How does acupuncture work?

Answer:

According to Chinese philosophy, Qi is the life force. The basis of acupuncture lies in the assumption that Qi courses through channels in the body known as meridians. The acupuncture points represent gates where the channels come closest to the surface. Acupuncture is the practice of influencing the flow of Qi by stimulating these points. Most studies evaluating clinical outcomes are with the use of needling. The insertion of thin, stainless steel needles into these points establishes communication between the outer and inner body, correcting the flow of Qi and enhancing healing.

Reference: Cherkin DC, Eisenberg DM, Sherman KJ, et al: Randomized trial comparing traditional Chinese medical acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and self-care education for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med 161:1081-1088, 2001

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