Friday, May 6, 2011

Research on Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into specific body points to improve health and well-being. It originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. American practices of acupuncture use medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea and other countries. In the United States, the best-known type involves putting hair-thin, metallic needles in your skin.

Research has shown that acupuncture reduces nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy. It can also relieve pain. Researchers don't fully understand how acupuncture works. It might aid the activity of your body's pain-killing chemicals. It also might affect how you release chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.
Over the past 10 years, NCCAM has supported extensive research on acupuncture. Studies have looked at its effect on specific health conditions and how it affects the brain and nervous system; the neurological properties of meridians and acupuncture points; and methods for improving the quality of acupuncture research.
Recent studies have found that acupuncture:
  • Helps alleviate nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Relieves pain and improves function for some people with osteoarthritis of the knee and complements standard medical care.
  • Helps in treating chronic lower back pain.
  • Can be useful in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
  • May improve pregnancy rates following in vitro fertilization (IVF).
  • May or may not be of value for many other conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome and some neurologic disorders.

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