Does acupuncture work?
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?