Acupuncture 101: What it is and How it Works

Restore balance with this ancient healing practice


Acupuncture needles and text.

(YueStock /

At first glance, acupuncture may seem strange. After all, what can be so healing about sticking needles all over your body? But, people have turned to acupuncture for centuries because of its therapeutic benefits. 

Acupuncture is part of the healing practice known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The guiding principles of TCM  promote overall well-being by balancing qi,the body’s vital energy, through a number of practices that include massage, exercise, herbal medicine, moxibustion (a form of heat therapy),and acupuncture, according to The Mayo Clinic.

Acupuncture consists of the insertion of thin metallic needles at certain points in the body to stimulate energy flow to restore harmony and health dates back at least 2,200 years. 

As people increasingly turn to this holistic approach, supported by both historical wisdom and emerging scientific insights, acupuncture provides a valuable complement to conventional healthcare.

How does acupuncture work?
So how does accupuncture work?  According to TCM, the body consists of meridian pathways through which vital qi energy flows. The insertion of needles along these meridians stimulates the flow of qi and restores internal balance. 

When done strategically by an experienced practitioner, acupuncture can help heal certain ailments. People may use the therapy for a range of purposes from relieving tension in the body to soothing headaches and beyond. 

What are the benefits of acupuncture? 
People have practiced acupuncture for thousands of years, and it’s easy to understand why. Acupuncture has many healing benefits, from soothing pain to promoting healthy digestion and sleep, according to Everyday Health.

Supports quality sleep
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may want to give acupuncture a try. Acupuncture could help treat insomnia. Thousands of patients who turned to acupuncture found it effective in improving sleep

Helps reduce stress
We all experience stress from time to time. But, chronic, ongoing stress wreaks havoc on your health if not properly managed. If you find yourself under a lot of pressure, acupuncture could help you feel calm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Could soothe pain
More and more people are turning to acupuncture as a natural way to help manage pain. According to Everyday Health, acupuncture has become popular to soothe all sorts of pain, from dental and neck soreness to menstrual cramps. 

May reduce inflammation
Acupuncture stimulates electrical signaling in the nervous system and could help reduce inflammation in the body. That’s great news as reducing inflammation could help treat a range of diseases, from digestive issues to arthritis. 

Helps boost your immune system
There's an old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you could say the same about regular acupuncture appointments. According to Oxford Academic, acupuncture helps maintain your immune system, so you feel healthy and reduce your chances of getting sick.

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