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October 2021

South Med J. 1998 Dec; 91(12): 1121-5.

Acupuncture: a review of its history, theories, and indications.

Ceniceros S, Brown GR.

Department of Psychiatry, East Tennessee State University, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, and James H. Quillen Veterans Administration Medical Center, Johnson City 37614, USA.

BACKGROUND: The National Institutes of Health recently recommended acupuncture as an effective tool for the treatment of various health problems. Acupuncture is an old technique but has been popular in the United States only since 1972. Its history, theories, and indications are not well known to the medical community. METHODS: We reviewed the literature to gather information on the history, techniques, physiology, indications, adverse effects, and opposing views to acupuncture. RESULTS: The mechanism by which acupuncture works involves neurotransmitters and adrenocorticotropic hormones. It appears to be effective in the treatment of pain, nausea, and drug detoxification and in stroke victims. Studies suggest acupuncture is no more effective than placebo. Acupuncture side effects have rarely been reported. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture appears to be a safe and effective alternative medical therapy for certain health problems. More controlled research is necessary to better understand the range of its clinical application.

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