Acupuncture is a technique that has been long used in traditional Chinese Medicine.

In an acupuncture session practitioners activate particular points in the body by putting tiny, thin needles into the skin.

In some cases, heat, pressure or light electrical current can be used along with needles.

The concept of Acupuncture came from the theory which believes that energy, or ‘chi’ in Chinese, passes through our body through pathways known as meridians. [1]

The meridians have two types of pathways -internal and external. The internal pathways are joined to 12 internal organs, and the external pathways proceed to the skin, which is where the acupuncture points are located. [2]

When anything restricts the flow or shifts the equilibrium of chi, illness occurs.

Acupuncture treats diseases by stimulating the acupuncture points and unblocking chi.

There are more than 400 acupuncture points on the human body located along 14 channels, which include 12 meridians and 2 extra meridians.[2]

And through the stimulation of these specific points, blood flow increases and releases the body’s natural painkillers, aiding in the reduction of pain. The benefits of acupuncture include weight loss, relieving pain, anxiety, stress, and much more.

Let us first look at them one by one.

10 Evidence Based Benefits of Acupuncture

1. May Help with Chemotherapy-Induced, and Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting

10 Benefits of Acupuncture

Over the past 20 years, the effect of acupuncture on nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy has been studied, and clinical evidence gathered till date shows favorable results.

Now, practice guidelines even recommend acupuncture as a popular therapy for uncontrolled nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. [4]

Another common cause of symptoms like nausea or vomiting is the mental stress ones goes through right before an operation.

RELATED: 10 Essential Oils for Nausea & How to Use Them

2. May Relieve Your Dental Pain

Urgent dental care is the most common reason for the demand for healthcare, especially at emergency care centers.

A common symptom of an oral condition is a dental pain, and acupuncture is one of the suggested treatments along with conventional treatments to control it.

Regular treatment for acute dental pain management includes diagnosis of the condition causing the pain, dental treatment, and drugs.

Recently, acupuncture is being considered as an alternative therapy, and its significance has been recognized as a treatment for pain.[5]

According to the Geneva WHO 2003 report, acupuncture appears to be an effective treatment for pain in dentistry, including dental pain, facial, and postoperative pain.

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3. May Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain

Benefits of Acupuncture

Fibromyalgia is a condition in which you experience pain in many different parts of your body, with a diversification of other symptoms that includes joint stiffness, sleep disturbance, fatigue and mood disorders. This creates an impact on the quality of your life.[6]

There is no particular cure, and only a few treatment options are available for fibromyalgia currently, so the available treatments focus on relieving the pain and improving the overall well-being and ability to function.

Acupuncture can be used at certain points to ease the condition. Some of these points are-


It is located between the eyes, at the level of the eyebrows.

Stimulating this point soothes anxiety and promotes an overall relaxation of the body. It may also help in reducing obsessive and unproductive thoughts. [7]

Ear Shen Men

This point is located on the upper portion of the ear in the triangular fossa.

A fingertip can be perfectly placed and pressed to activate this point.

Stimulation of this point results in great relief from any physical or emotional pain.

Some patients even describe it as a heavenly sensation. [7]

Ren 17

Ren 17 is located in the center of the chest parallel to the fourth intercostal space, aligned with the nipples.

This point’s stimulation greatly aids to relieve the sensation of rising anxiety and also allows the body to relax physically.

Pericardium 6

It is a point that is located on the lower, inner side of the arm, four fingers away from the wrist crease and in between the two tendons in the middle of the arm.

A mild pressure can lead to a sense of well-being and escape from nausea.

Stomach 36

Stomach 36 is situated at about four fingers away down from the outer part of the knee, then over about the breadth of the middle finger, from the shin bone. [7]

This point is of significant value point for its ability to promote general wellness by activating the immune system, halting pain anywhere in the body and calming the Shen. In acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, “calming the Shen” means balancing negative mental and emotional states.

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4. May Reduce Headaches, Including Tension and Migraine

Benefits of Acupuncture

The western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both categorizes headaches into two parts:

Primary – A primary headache is a clinical condition and not a symptom of any other disorder. Tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches are considered as primary headaches.[8]

Secondary-Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are caused by other medical conditions, for example, allergies, dental disorders, sinus diseases, head injury or brain tumors.[8]

Acupuncture is used to treat primary headaches, such as tension and migraine significantly.[9]

It is known to work better than having either no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture in decreasing headache frequency and severity.[9]

RELATED: 12 Proven Ways to Get Rid of a Headache (with Step By Step)

5. May Be Effective in Tolerating Labor Pain

Epidurals similar to all other natural birth process has risks. They slow down contractions, prolonging labor duration and consequently increasing the need for assistance.[10]

Acupuncture can be useful in such conditions. A study showed the use of acupuncture during labor reduced the involvement of other methods of pain relief such as epidurals, pethidine, nitrous oxide, and water injections by 20%.

After the inclusion of acupuncture, it was recorded in a trial that the number of epidurals requested was reduced by nearly half the usual number, in women who received conventional care.

These women reported significantly higher levels of relaxation. They also demanded less non-medication forms of pain relief, such as TENS, water, or heat packs.[11]

6. Acupuncture Can Lower Your Back Pain

Benefits of Acupuncture

According to various researchers, 4 out of every 5 people will have low back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the top reasons for people to seek medical help. [12]

Needless to mention it is also the number one reported reason for people to use acupuncture.

Luckily, research suggests, chronic lower-back pain is one of the conditions for which acupuncture has great prospects.[12]

A report consisting of 22 acupuncture studies showed that acupuncture provided short-term relief and relaxation from chronic back pain. [12]

It also showed signs of greater improvement in pain for people who got acupuncture in contrast to those who went for a “sham” treatment.[12]

RELATED: 10 Research- Backed Essential Oil Remedies for Back Pain + Directions

7. Acupuncture Can Relieve Neck Pain

Acupuncture can relieve certain types of neck pain, especially those that are caused by whiplash.[13]

Some of the studies conducted suggest that acupuncture can treat degenerative neck disorders, for example, ankylosing spondylosis and cervical spondylosis.[13]

Acupuncture has worked for patients whose conditions were not solved using conventional or traditional attempts.

Acupressure and herbal medicine are also used hand in hand with acupuncture for neck pain.

The application of acupressure to the neck muscles can decrease spasm and reduce pain, leading to a sense of relief and well-being.[14]

According to the patient’s condition and medical history, certain herbal products can also be used to improve the circulation and flow of blood and ease in muscle contraction.

8. Acupuncture Can Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis is one such condition which involves damage to articular cartilage and other structures in and around joints, with different levels of inflammation.  The knee and the hip are most affected by it.[15]

Acupuncture treatment may help to relieve pain and improve function in patients with osteoarthritis by:[16]

Activating the nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to the release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors. This changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.

  • Inhibiting pain through the modulatory effects of endogenous opioids
  • Regulating metabolism-related genes and pathways
  • Decreasing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
  • Increasing local microcirculation which aids to stop the spreading of swelling

9. Acupuncture Can Help with Menstrual Cramps

Benefits of Acupuncture

According to, Lisa M. Bartoli,[17] for relieving menstrual discomfort, acupuncture stimulation is commendably effective as blood flow to the uterus is increased, which relaxes the muscles just like a hot pad.

It also increases the release of endorphin which minimizes the pain and improves PMS symptoms such as irritability and mood swing.

This therapy acts as oral contraceptives by balancing out the brain’s hormone-regulator, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, relieving symptoms ranging from pain to mood swings.

It is like using your body’s energy to play with hormones and rebalance the system naturally.

RELATED: 20 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Period Cramps (& How to Use Them)

10. Acupuncture May Help Get Rid of Drug Addiction

Acupuncture reduces drug withdrawal symptoms of drug addicts.[18]

It may also help prevent a relapse. However, more studies are needed to learn about the positive effects of acupuncture for this respective condition.[18]

RELATED: Essential Oils for Alcoholism: 5 Natural Alcohol Detox

What is the Process of Acupuncture Session?

An acupuncture session usually begins with a meeting with the acupuncturist. If it’s your first session, they generally inquire about your medical history and your symptoms.

Then, you lie on a treatment table, and the acupuncturist will insert several hair-like sterilized needles to free up your chi channels.

The needles are kept inside the body for about 20 to 45 minutes.[19]

In addition to inserting these very small needles, your treatment may include moxibustion which is a herb that’s sometimes used to boost circulation aiding in a smoother flow of blood and chi.

Electrical stimulation may also be used by the therapist in which small amount of electricity is passed to reduce your pain and other symptoms.

Don’t be overwhelmed; your acupuncturist will explain everything to you in detail before starting any treatment session.[19]

For future sessions, you and your acupuncturist will discuss what has changed post the first treatment whether your symptoms have gotten better or worse, etc.

Based on these analysis’, further sessions are planned.

Several regular acupuncture sessions may be required before you begin to notice a reduction in pain and other fibromyalgia and rheumatoid-immunomodulatory arthritis symptoms.

However, everyone is different. For example, what may take one session for you might be a result of 3-4 sessions for someone else!

Is Acupuncture Safe?

A certified provider ensures safe treatment. Make sure Whoever is performing your acupuncture is in fact certified.

A state license tells us that the provider has a well-maintained level of training and follows certain guidelines. 20]

Rarely, problems may occur after acupuncture although.

You might get an infection, especially in case the needles aren’t sterilized. [20]

Providers who are licensed can be trusted that they will throw away their needles after one use.[20]

So every time you get a treatment ensure that your provider uses a new pack of sterile needles.

If you have any confusions concerning this method, discuss them with your doctor.

Make sure to inform your doctor before you use a treatment like acupuncture.

Bottom Line

The benefits of acupuncture can be difficult to measure at times, but it is no lie that many people confide in this method to get relief from various pain-related issues. [21,22]

A large majority of people who rely on acupuncture therapy do so for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions and pain.

Significant evidence has been found that supports that therapeutic ritual of acupuncture has some symptomatic benefit for such indications.

However, it has been indicated that a few types of simulated acupuncture seem to work just as well as real acupuncture.

Evidence also shows that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.  All in all a lot more research needs to be done on this form of therapy.[22]

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