Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body's natural ability to heal itself without the help of drugs and surgery. Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. As part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture aims to restore and maintain health through the stimulation of specific points on the body. In the United States, acupuncture is considered part of complementary and alternative medicine.
During acupuncture treatment, hair-thin needles are placed at very precise acupuncture points on the body. The needles are manipulated by hands or by electrical stimulation. The picture on the right shows a layout of the typical acupuncture points (acupoints) on one's body. While acupuncture is very effective in pain control, in the hands of a skilled practitioner it can treat a wide range of health problems.
Though acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for more than 3000 years, it was not introduced to the United States until the 70s. Since then millions of people in this country have experienced miracles of the ancient treatment.
In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified the acupuncture needle as a medical device and started regulating acupuncture needles for use by licensed practitioners. Under the U.S. FDA regulations, acupuncture needles are specially manufactured and pre-sterilized. They are shipped in the sealed packages and remain sealed until being used. The needles are immediately disposed after their first use.
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