A traditional Chinese medical practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to relieve pain and treat various health conditions.

Acupuncture originated in ancient China and is based on the belief that energy (qi) flows through meridians or pathways in the body. Acupuncture aims to restore the balanced flow of qi by stimulating specific acupuncture points along these meridians.

During an acupuncture session, thin, sterile needles are inserted into the skin at specific acupuncture points. The needles may be manipulated manually or with electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat chronic pain conditions such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and headaches/migraines. It may also help with digestive disorders, emotional issues like anxiety and depression, gynecological problems, and respiratory conditions.

The mechanisms by which acupuncture works are not fully understood from a Western medical perspective. Proposed theories include stimulating the central nervous system to release natural painkillers, influencing neurotransmitter levels, and reducing inflammation.

Acupuncture is recognized by the World Health Organization as an effective treatment for over 60 conditions. Nevertheless, more high-quality research is still needed to fully understand its efficacy and mechanisms of action.