Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles which have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of Qi through channels known as meridians. However, scientific research has not found any histological or physiological correlates for Qi, meridians and acupuncture points, and some contemporary practitioners needle the body without using the traditional theoretical framework. Current scientific research supports acupuncture’s efficacy in the relief of certain types of pain and post-operative nausea and there is general agreement that acupuncture is safe when administered by well-trained practitioners using sterile needles but does carry small risks.
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