Acupuncture is a key part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): a medical system that has been used and refined for over 2,000 years. TCM views the body as an interconnected system, where no single component or condition can exist in isolation. Consequently, TCM practitioners arrive at a diagnosis by examining the patient as a whole and looking for patterns that reveal deviations from the natural, balanced state of the body.
Acupuncture is performed using sterilized, single-use needles that are inserted into key points in the body and retained from as little as a minute, up to about 30 minutes. The points are carefully selected based on the TCM diagnosis with the goal of bringing the body back to its natural state of balance. Acupuncture needles are solid and about as thick as a human hair. Unlike the much thicker hollow needles used for blood tests and injections, acupuncture needles can be inserted with minimal effort and little, if any, discomfort to the patient. Many patients do not even feel the insertion.
Although the exact biological mechanisms of acupuncture are the subject of ongoing scientific study, acupuncture has been acknowledged the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective method of treatment for hundreds of conditions.