Acupuncture and its sister treatment, acupressure, have endured for centuries. Peruse our exploration of acupoint therapy to pinpoint the facts on these ancient techniques.
Despite their different names, acupuncture and acupressure rely on the same principle: the stimulation of the body to trigger natural processes. During typical treatments, licensed acupuncturists target specific bodily points by applying pressure with their hands or a dull implement (in acupressure) or inserting fine needles (for acupuncture). These points correspond to meridians, which, according to the practice’s underlying philosophy, are channels that transport life-giving energy throughout the body. By stimulating the meridians, the acupuncturist releases any blockers to this energy flow and restores the body to health.
Compared to the constantly evolving field of modern medicine, acupuncture has remained essentially unchanged for millennia. Evidence suggests that the treatment existed as far back as 5,000 years ago—the preserved mummy Ötzi the Iceman, for example, bears tattoos that correspond to classical acupuncture points. While contemporary scientific understanding has cast a new light on the body’s inner workings, acupuncture remains a popular procedure with mainstream credibility: a 2002 World Health Organization report found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for conditions ranging from gout to certain respiratory disorders and acknowledged that “its effective rate in the treatment of chronic pain is comparable with that of morphine.”
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