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The Basics of Acupuncture

January 4th, 2012 Healthy Living

You may have heard of acupuncture or even seen pictures of people getting a bunch of needles stuck in their bodies, but did you know that it's actually becoming a very successful form of alternative treatment for many types of disorders? The practice originated in China thousands of years ago, but has been experiencing a growth of popularity in the past three decades in the U.S. Here are a few things you should know about acupuncture, according to WebMD and the Mayo Clinic.

What it is
Acupuncture is a technique that involves inserting small needles into specific points along energy pathways in your body. The needles are meant to balance or redirect the body's life force energy, a.k.a. "chi." The needles can subtly adjust the body's tissues, nerves and hormones, which can minimize the symptoms of a number of issues.

What it does
Many studies have shown that acupuncture helps standard forms of medication work better. The practice is also good for relieving pain without the side-effects of other pain medications. Acupuncture can help people who have cancer experience nausea less often, as well as boost the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization, increasing the chance of pregnancy for those who have experienced problems conceiving in the past. Acupuncture can also benefit a variety of other illnesses.

The healing power of acupuncture is thought to be a result of its effects on the nervous system, but networks of connective tissue have also been pinpointed as the crux of the practice. Regardless of why it works, many people are turning to acupuncture as a form of alternative treatment, and while the practice isn't mainstream yet, there is a lot of progress to look forward to.