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

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

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

Energy flows through our bodies along paths called meridians and 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 United States in the '80s and '90s when research started to suggest acupuncture could be an effective treatment for some illnesses, especially 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 our brain and our spinal cord - and 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 and 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?


Assigned 5 times


COMMENTS (31)
  • atayal-Orv
    5/27/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    you should not try acupuncture at home because you can hurt you self or you can puncture something that can have fatal injury's. if you acidently hit a vein you can lose alot of blood if they dont get you to the hospital quickly.

  • TreyvaunT
    5/27/2015 - 01:24 p.m.

    never will I ever do that. It looks so painful. Who would want somebody sticking thousands of needles in your body. What if you fall off the thing like final destination. Then your dead.

  • Haley Patterson
    5/27/2015 - 01:33 p.m.

    I really don't see how putting needles in your skin would make anyone feel better so no, I do not think that this would ever work or help anyone.

  • ratiaira
    5/27/2015 - 01:38 p.m.

    acupuncture is a old performance and it helps cure things if i had to i would use the old ancient technique it looks like it doesn't hurt just a sting so it should not be hard

  • TaylorHartman-Ste
    5/27/2015 - 01:58 p.m.

    I always wanted to try acupuncture to see if it really made a difference to me. The whole process just seems a little weird, but it supposedly works.

  • trep-Goo
    5/27/2015 - 03:00 p.m.

    why should u do it at home so u wont be so mad or stressed out when u get home from work and u can feel a lot better and u will be in a better mood and it feels really good and u do not have to worry about nothing and that is a good reason to get one at home

  • ShawnaWeiser-Ste
    5/27/2015 - 07:48 p.m.

    I understand that this is supposedly supposed to work. It just does not make sense to shove needles into your body to relax. I would definitely not give this another thought to try.

  • 1AugieK
    5/28/2015 - 09:11 a.m.

    Responding to the Critical Thinking Challenge:

    There are a few reasons why people shouldn't do acupuncture at home. One of those reasons is people may be mistaken in thinking that acupuncture needles aren't special, so they could use other needles like sewing needles or even safety pins (if the person is really ignorant). This would only cause them more pain instead of relieving the pain that is already there. Another reason is the people who normally do acupuncture were trained on how to do just that, including where to put the needles in the body, how to prepare them, and other specific training. If a random person was to do this at home, they could look up how and where to put the needles in, but there is no guarantee that they would get put in the right spot. They could end up paralyzing themselves from putting a needle in the wrong spot.

  • 9jonahd
    5/28/2015 - 09:37 a.m.

    Acupuncture was once thought of a way of torture, but it is actually one of the oldest medical practices. Acupuncture helps the flow of energy throughout the body. The us started doing it in the 80's or 90's because it was thought to cure illnesses. It isn't totally understood, but it might stimulate our body and boost our immune system.
    You might not want to try this at home unless your a professional because your could stab yourself and get hurt bad.

  • JuliaHammer
    5/28/2015 - 10:02 a.m.

    According to this article, there are paths in our bodies called meridians that energy flows through. When this flow gets blocked, the person will get sick. Acupuncture gets rid of anything stopping the energy flow which heals the person. Acupuncture helps to simulate the central nervous system which is the system that controls our health. The needles cause our bodies to release chemicals that dulls pain and boosts the immune system.

    Critical Thinking challenge- "Why shouldn't people try acupuncture at home?"

    Acupuncture takes practice and should only be done only by professionals.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT