Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks

What is Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese Traditional Medicine used to treat various conditions through the insertion of very thin needles at specific points on the human body. It remains scientifically unclear how this form of alternative medicine works. Acupuncture remains a controversial subject among Western scientists and physicians. According to Chinese medicine, acupuncture works through balancing the flow of energy, known as chi, that flows through pathways in the body. Western practitioners view the needle points as centers for nerve, muscle, and connective stimulation (Birch, 2019). Acupuncture boosts wellbeing and alleviates or cures many conditions, including anxiety, depression, blood pressure, chronic pain, migraines, sprains, and stroke.

The harmonious balance of two extremes, “yin” and “yang,” brings about health, states Chinese traditional medicine. The imbalance of these forces results in illnesses. Chi flows through the human body through pathways. Inserting acupuncture needles through specifically designated points brings the proper balance of the energy flow. The existence of these pathways and acupuncture points has never been scientifically proven. Numerous studies, however, indicate that the practice works for various conditions. They suggest that connective tissue, nerves, and muscles can be stimulated at acupuncture points, increase the flow of blood, and activate the body’s regular painkillers (Mathew, 2017). The procedure follows needle insertion, needle manipulation, and needle removal.

Benefits and Risks of Acupuncture

Acupuncture can be beneficial as the procedure is safe when performed correctly. There are minimal side effects associated with acupuncture, and practitioners can also combine it effectively with other treatments (Birch, 2019). There are documented findings it controls some types of pain, and it can be used as an alternative when other forms of treatment are not working.

In the hands of a competent acupuncture practitioner using sterile needles, the risks of the exercise are limited. Most side effects are connected with needle insertion and include soreness, bruising, and minor bleeding. Major risks associated with acupuncture include bleeding, especially for people with bleeding disorders (Gao, Zhang, & Liu, 2021). It can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation if a person is fitted with one. Some types of acupuncture can stimulate labor and lead to premature delivery.

Many people find acupuncture a helpful way of controlling various painful conditions. It is a relatively affordable, drug-free, and noninvasive therapy. It considers complex human nature and is deemed suitable for holistically treating the body, mind, and spirit. It also works preventatively and curatively and can be used together with other forms of treatment. Patients who regularly receive acupuncture report being sick less often and consider themselves more harmonious in relationships with others (Gao, Zhang, & Liu, 2021). Opponents of acupuncture do not trust it, and it remains a controversial treatment form in the Western world. Another main reason why people refuse acupuncture is the fear of needles. Many people are hesitant to use needles out of phobia or fear of being hurt. Some people are skeptical of acupuncture’s application and effectiveness. They believe that it does not work. It is shrouded in mystery and has a common misconception as a very painful practice (Mathew, 2017). Some studies suggest that acupuncture works best for those people who expect it to.

Since there have been numerous studies done on acupuncture, more and more should try it. This medical practice has been around for more than 2,000 years and is continually being adopted by more cultures. It is said to boost well-being and alleviate or cure many conditions.


Birch S. (2019). Treating the patient not the symptoms: Acupuncture to improve overall health – Evidence, acceptance and strategies. Integrative medicine research, 8(1), 33–41. Web.

Gao, Z., Zhang, J., & Liu, G. (2021). Research trends from 2010 to 2020 for pain treatment with acupuncture: A bibliometric analysis. Journal of Pain Research, 14 (1), pp 941—952. Web.

Mathew, P. (2017). Acupuncture: A point in the right direction, or a stab in the dark? Harvard Health Publishing. Web.

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NursingBird. (2022, September 12). Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2022, September 12). Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks.

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"Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks." NursingBird, 12 Sept. 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks'. 12 September.


NursingBird. 2022. "Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks." September 12, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks." September 12, 2022.


NursingBird. "Acupuncture’s Description, Benefits, and Risks." September 12, 2022.