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Acupuncture is probably the first therapy that patients think of when they consider seeking Traditional Chinese Medical healing. As one of the commonest and certainly one of the oldest types of Chinese medical therapies, acupuncture has gained international recognition in recent decades as western scientific research increasingly corroborates what TCM practitioners have known for millennia – acupuncture is a technique that has provable therapeutic benefits.
Acupuncture is actually a range of procedures all of which involve stimulating anatomical points or meridians on the body using different techniques. The most common and well-known technique involves delicately piercing the skin with fine, metal needles by hand. However, acupuncture can also include electro-acupuncture in which the needles are stimulated by electrical current, ear acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion, in which the mugwort herb is burned on the end of the acupuncture needles.
Acupuncture needles are so extremely thin and tiny that patients experience practically no discomfort when the needles are inserted. Although research is still ongoing to try to understand how acupuncture works, it appears on a physiological level that the insertion of the needles causes body processes and functions to physically change so that energy flows smoothly and balance is restored.