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 alcohol use or addiction
problems, 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.