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 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. 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, 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. 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 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?


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COMMENTS (123)
  • TaylorM-Kut
    5/27/2015 - 10:35 a.m.

    i learned at lot of things reading this short story.i learned that acupuncture does actually work. It can be used for pain,sickness and more but my real question is why can't you do it at home?

  • aylan-Rat
    5/27/2015 - 11:02 a.m.

    Some people may think that acupuncture is painful and awful! But I think that acupuncture is a great thing to do because I read this article and It gets all of the Pain out of your body.
    And some think it hurts super bad but the needles are so small you can't even feel them

  • MarlyR-Mit
    5/27/2015 - 01:00 p.m.

    That is amazing how people that are blind can do just as much as people that can see! I wish I could do that but you have to practice for a long time

  • jordanr-Orv
    5/27/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    another weird medical practice, we have alot of those many are not true. but this one is that pretty cool that they proved how it

  • preciousa1028
    5/27/2015 - 01:18 p.m.

    I think that acupuncture is pretty cool because it doesn't hurt and it relieves pain. Also it has to be pretty cool to last as long as it did that means that it could be pretty special.

  • amiraj522
    5/27/2015 - 01:23 p.m.

    Even though it looks painful it is really not. DO NOT try it at home because it is for professionals only. If you are not you don't know how far you are suppose to put the needle in or what is the right place to put it and it can cause really bad injuries if it is your first time and never practiced before.

  • amiraj522
    5/27/2015 - 01:23 p.m.

    Even though it looks painful it is really not. DO NOT try it at home because it is for professionals only. If you are not you don't know how far you are suppose to put the needle in or what is the right place to put it and it can cause really bad injuries if it is your first time and never practiced before.

  • EmilyK-2
    5/27/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    This article is about the history of acupuncture and it's benefits that it provides today. When people are sick, especially with chronic pain, they often result to acupuncture to help take the pain away. Acupuncture has been practiced for about 2,500 years, but started becoming popular around the 80s in the US. I think it is very interesting that something that originally started out as a form of torture in history, is now a popular way to relieve pain and stress.

  • HannahH-1
    5/27/2015 - 01:47 p.m.

    Accupuncture is a type of Chinese medicine that began in practice around 25,000 years ago. In concept energy flows trough our bodies in paths called meridians. It has become known that when these paths become blocked we get sick. Accpuncture has been known to be useful to people who have become ill or who have chronic pain. Accupuncture has become credible in the US and has been proven to work. I think that it is very amazing how accupuncture is one of the oldest form of medicine and is still practiced today.

  • cynthiay905
    5/27/2015 - 01:58 p.m.

    Acupuncture does work. It is one of the traditional Chinese medicine. It will help you if you are in pain or sick. Like having a headache.

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