20 October, 2010


Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting and manipulating needles into various points on the body to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes. The earliest written record of acupuncture is the Chinese text Shiji with elaboration of its history in the second century BCE medical text Huangdi Neijing. Different variations of acupuncture are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Acupuncture has been the subject of active scientific research both in regard to its basis and therapeutic effectiveness since the late 20th century, but it remains controversial among medical researchers and clinicians. Research on acupuncture points and meridians is preliminary and has not conclusively demonstrated their existence or properties. Clinical assessment of acupuncture treatments, due to its invasive and easily detected nature, makes it difficult to use proper scientific controls for placebo effects.
 Evidence supports the use of acupuncture to control some types of nausea and pain but evidence for the treatment of other conditions is equivocal and several review articles discussing the effectiveness of acupuncture have concluded it is possible to explain through the placebo effect.
 The World Health Organization and the United States' National Institutes of Health (NIH) have stated that acupuncture can be effective in the treatment of neurological conditions and pain, though these statements have been criticized for bias and a reliance on studies that used poor methodology. Reports from the USA's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various USA government reports have studied and commented on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles, and that further research is needed.