Does acupuncture work? (Thinkstock)
Does acupuncture work?
Lexile

You asked us, does acupuncture work? At about 2,500 years old, acupuncture is not a form of torture. It's actually one of the world's oldest medical practices.

Here's how it works. This is according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Energy flows through our bodies along paths called meridians. When that energy gets blocked we get sick. Acupuncture helps get rid of anything stopping the flow of energy. So the body can heal.

It gained credibility in the U.S. in the '80s and '90s. That's when research started to suggest acupuncture could be an effective treatment for some illnesses. That especially included chronic pain.

From a Western medical perspective, the mechanism at work isn't totally understood. But it's thought that acupuncture might stimulate the central nervous system. That is made up of our brain and our spinal cord. Acupuncture can cause them to release chemicals that dull pain and boost the immune system.

So the next time you find yourself in pain or sick, you might consider giving acupuncture a shot.

Just do me a favor. Don't try this at home.

For more stories like this, check us out every day at smithsonian.com.

Critical thinking challenge: Why shouldn't you try acupuncture at home?


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COMMENTS (13)
  • QuintinM-Swa
    5/27/2015 - 03:26 p.m.

    That's is very creepy and cool at the same time.My question is do they num you or do they put you to sleep or keep you awake and do the operation?

  • John0724-YYCA
    5/27/2015 - 08:05 p.m.

    If I a rally sick or something does not feel right then I go for acupuncture because it does not hurt more than shots and it actually helps me feel better when I just thought that it was just some kind of thin needle that goes through the skin without nothing happening but when I read this article I was wrong. When the needle goes inside your skin the energy in your body called meridians are not blocked anymore because you usually dont feel right when the energy is getting blocked.

  • Danielacid
    5/28/2015 - 02:31 a.m.

    This article is about if the acupuncture works really. This is a medical practice very old, it does not produces suffering to the people.
    According to traditional Chinese medicine, we have special energy that flow trough our body, if this energy is blocked, we will get sick. thanks to acupuncture the flow of energy that have been blocked can get rid and the health be better.
    The acupuncture could helps to treat some illnesses and chronic pains.
    it is thought that acupuncture stimulate our central nervous system and could boost immune system.
    if I have some pain or some illness, I should not try to make the acupuncture at home because an expert person must make it. This person should have medical knowledge about that and be able to locate where is problem. besides it is a risk for body , because is inserted very thin needles in the skin.

  • MarisaG-Kut
    5/28/2015 - 11:23 a.m.

    i don't think people should try this at home because they can really hurt themselves. I mean what if they do it the wrong way or something it'll hurt bad so don't try this at home.

  • CharlotteR-Saw
    5/28/2015 - 12:20 p.m.

    Wow, I would expect pain if you get a needle in your head or arm. I would rather be sick than cry and need Acupuncture! Its kind of scary, would you like to see a needle in your forehead?

  • Tiffany0307-yyca
    5/28/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    Ouch. Acupuncture looks kinda painful because those needles look pretty sharp. My mom tried acupuncture so many times before and when I looked at her back, I almost got a little sick just by looking at it. She did it to cure and heal her back spine, I guess. Overall, that acupuncture thing does not look like fun, but at least it may help a lot of injured people. It is kinda like surgery, but just a tiny bit more weaker than the real surgery.
    Critical Thinking Challenge: Why shouldn't you try acupuncture at home?
    Answer: Because only doctors know how to do acupuncture professionally, and if we do it, then we might make a mistake, and may injure our whole body.

  • victoriaorregollanos
    6/06/2015 - 10:56 p.m.

    Because maybe you're not a expert in this topic so you shouldn't have the ideo of what are the acupuncture points

    This text is about how acupuncture work in our bodies and how could be an effective treatment for some illnesses, especially included chronic pain.

    I think that all different alternative for the balance of our bodies is good, and also if acupuncture is an ancient treatment.

  • william1108-yyca
    6/18/2015 - 02:57 p.m.

    It is cool how acupuncher works. Mabye next time I should do it.

  • guadalupecastillo
    6/24/2015 - 07:33 p.m.

    The acupuncture is one of the world's oldest medical practice. This is a traditional medicine chinese.
    Energy flows through our bodies but when this energy is blocked. We get sick. Acupuncture helps get rid of what stops the energy. It is believed that acupuncture can stimulate the central nervous system. Acupuncture can boost the immune system.
    We should not try acupuncture at home because this should be done by professionals because if we ourselves can do us harm.

  • felipevidal
    7/09/2015 - 06:06 p.m.

    This text tells us a little about how acupuncture works, chinese people says that energy flows through our bodies along paths called meridians and when they get blocked we get sick but the medical explanation says that the needles stimulate our central nervous system and at the same time we release chemicals that dull pain and boost the immune system.
    I've never tried acupuncture but after reading this text it seems very useful and I'd like to try it maybe it helps to end with my headaches.

    Why shouldn't you try acupuncture at home?

    Because this therapy uses needles and the needles must be put in a specific place so if a inexpert guy does it and doesn't know how to do it in a good way you can get hurt.

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