3. How does acupuncture work according to TCM?
In TCM, your “qi” is the flow of energy through your body. Qi streams through your body on energy channels known as meridians.
It’s believed that if your energy becomes blocked or stopped up, it may result in illness. This could present with physical symptoms, such as an aching back, or emotional symptoms, such as stress and anxiety.
4. Does Western medicine support this?
Many Western healthcare providers question the efficacy of acupuncture. It’s not exactly a verifiable and science-based treatment. However, does show that the needles from acupuncture treatments release endorphins in your body.
5. Does that mean it’s just a placebo effect?
If you receive a nondrug or control treatment — like a sugar pill in place of a pain reliever — and report symptom relief, researchers consider it a “placebo effect.”
There aren’t enough well-designed studies to rule out or confirm that improvements after acupuncture aren’t just a placebo effect or occur simply because you expect them to.
6. Are there any side effects or risks?
Acupuncture is safe for most people. It causes any serious side effects. Even mild side effects are unusual.
When side effects do occur, they include:
- itching at the area of treatment
- allergic reaction to needles
- bleeding from needle point
- bruising around needle point
- muscle twitching
There have been cases in which acupuncture led to a spinal injury, infection, and respiratory or cardiac problems. The biggest risk related to acupuncture is believed to come from improper technique. This is why you should only use practitioners who are trained and certified.