How does acupuncture work?

There are many theories about how acupuncture may work, but more research is needed to provide a conclusive and detailed explanation. What has been demonstrated is that the stimulation of an acupuncture point can transmit impulses via the nervous system to the internal organs, the spinal cord, and brain. In so doing, it can alter blood and lymph flow locally and in the internal organs, and it can activate the endocrine and immune systems. Acupuncture can also trigger the release of endorphins in the central nervous system, which explains its ability to relieve pain and treat addiction.

What can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treat?

Extensive clinical trials have been carried out, both in China and the West, into the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in treating a wide range of diseases, and results have been very promising.  There is, however, relatively little data that conforms to the usual western medical standards of large-scale, double-bline, randomized, controlled tests on humans, so its efficacy cannot yet be considered scientifically proven according to current ASA standards.  All references to research in the paragraphs below must therefore be seen in this context.