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What is acupuncture good for?

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Quick Answer

Acupuncture commonly treats pain, but it may also alleviate musculoskeletal problems, nausea and migraine headaches, according to the University of California San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine. Acupuncture also treats anxiety, depression, insomnia and infertility.

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Therapeutic use of acupuncture may also treat conditions that include cardiac neurosis, acne vulgaris, bronchial asthma and alcohol dependence, but results are more limited, says UC San Diego. Earache, fibromyalgia, diabetes mellitus and labor pain may also benefit from acupuncture.

Acupuncture works to promote the body's natural healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites. These sites are located throughout the body and are often stimulated by the insertion of sterile needles. The effects may be enhanced by use of pressure, heat or electrical stimulation, says UC San Diego.

The number of acupuncture treatments needed varies from person to person and also on the condition that needs to be alleviated. Chronic conditions often require more treatments than acute problems, claims UC San Diego.

During the first treatment, the acupuncturist inquires about a patient's health history. Then he assess the patient's pulse and tongue's shape, color and coating. This assessment allows the acupuncturist to develop a proper treatment for a patient, says UC San Diego.

Use of acupuncture as a healing technique dates back 3,000 years to traditional Chinese medicine. It is based on a philosophy of keeping the forces of the universe and body in balance, reports UC San Diego. When energy flowing through the body becomes blocked, acupuncture releases the blockades.

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