Acupuncture is a collection of procedures involving penetration of the skin with needles to stimulate certain points on the body. In its classical form it is a characteristic component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It has been categorized as a complementary health approach. According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating specific acupuncture points corrects imbalances in the flow of Qi through channels known as meridians.
Acupuncture can be effective as a solitary treatment, or as an adjunct to other therapeutic interventions. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of:
- Sports related injuries and other movement disorders;
- Musculoskeletal pain problems: neck pain, shoulder pain, low back pain, joint pain;
- Chronic pain: headaches, sciatica, osteoarthritis, neuritis and facial pain;
- Digestive disorders: irritable bowel, constipation, diarrhoea and gastritis;
- Menstrual and reproductive problems: dysmenorrheal, premenopausal symptoms and infertility;
- Urinary tract disorders: prostatitis and bladder dysfunction;
- Respiratory problems: sinusitis, asthma, sore throat and recurrent respiratory tract infections;
- Stress related problems: addictions and post-traumatic stress disorder.