The effectiveness of acupuncture

Acupuncture is a treatment originating in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient healing system that helps people stay well, and also treats symptoms when they are ill.

by Dr. QiLing Lu — 

Acupuncture is a treatment originating in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient healing system that helps people stay well, and also treats symptoms when they are ill. An acupuncturist first does an overall exam to determine which parts of the body and its energy systems are affected.

That exam is different from one done by a conventional physician or other healthcare practitioner because the acupuncturist will feel for the strength of different pulses in the radial artery of the wrist and may examine the tongue, looking for differences in color and texture. The acupuncturist will ask about symptoms, as well. All this information is used to determine the areas of the body that have energy blockages.

Depending upon the results of the assessment, the acupuncturist then inserts very thin metal needles in different regions of the body. The patient may feel slight discomfort initially, but it dissipates very quickly. The needles are sterile and disposable, so there is no possibility of contracting blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis or HIV from them.

Sometimes the acupuncturist may attach tiny clamps connected to an electrical stimulator to the end of the needles. This extra stimulation does not hurt and often increases energy flow in the acupuncture points. Another method of stimulation is called moxibustion; a stick of an herb called mugwort is lit and the burning end touches the tip of the acupuncture needle. Again, this does not hurt, but rather produces a pleasant warm sensation.

All acupuncture treatments are designed to stimulate qi, or the free flow of energy, throughout the body pathways, called meridians. An acupuncturist can be thought of as the person who “turns the key in the lock,” allowing energy to flow without any blockage.

When energy flows freely, symptoms such as pain or respiratory, digestive or orthopedic problems are decreased or eliminated. Studies have supported the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating problems such as back pain, nausea and vomiting, and tennis elbow.

If you are interested in more information about acupuncture, visit reputable websites such as or


QiLing Lu was a medical doctor in China and has practiced acupuncture for more than 20 years. She is board-certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is licensed to practice acupuncture in Arizona. 602-954-2678.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 2, April/May 2007.

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