Acupuncture is a treatment based on traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese acupuncture usually is done by putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body to produce energy flow along the body's meridians; other types of acupuncture may use heat, pressure, or mild electrical current to stimulate energy flow along these meridians.
Some people may use acupuncture to help with chronic pain, such as low back pain, neck pain, or osteoarthritis pain. It's also used to reduce or prevent headaches. Or this therapy may help manage cancer-related symptoms or side effects from cancer treatment.
In general, acupuncture is safe when done by a certified acupuncturist. A state license ensures that the acupuncturist has a certain level of training and follows certain practice guidelines, such as using sterilized needles that are disposed of after one use. In the United States, acupuncture needles are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as therapeutic devices.
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