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Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Acupuncture

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 treat substance use disorder, fibromyalgia, back pain, and many other conditions. There is some evidence that acupuncture may stimulate the production of the body's natural painkillers (endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine).

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.