Acupuncture is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on the insertion and manipulation of fine needles in various points in the body for therapeutic ends. It has treated and prevented illnesses for more than 5,000 years.

Traditional acupuncture assumes that a vital energy, Qi (pronounced tchi), indispensable to life, circulates throughout the body. This energy is transported by a network of channels called meridians, through the whole body, in order to maintain its proper functioning.

Acupuncture points are situated in specific locations along the meridians, on the surface of the body. These points, mapped and documented thousands of years ago by Chinese and neighboring Asian populations (Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.), all have their own sets of characteristics and indications.

When the energetic balance of the body is disrupted, symptoms and illnesses can manifest. The stimulation and choice of point combinations in the treatment will have an effect on an organ, a region or a specific function of the body in order to act on a set of diverse symptoms and on the initial cause of the imbalance.


In data published in 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the benefits of acupuncture. It also mentions in a document1 the diseases or disorders for which this therapeutic approach has been tested in controlled clinical trials:

1. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials to be an effective treatment:

– Adverse reactions to radiotherapy or chemotherapy
– Allergic rhinitis (including hay fever)
– Depression
– Neck pain
– Low back pain
– Sciatica
– Sprain
– Tennis elbow
– Dysmenorrhoea, primary
– Induction of labour
– Pain in dentistry
– Rheumatoid arthritis
– Postoperative pain.

2. Diseases, symptoms or conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown but for which further proof is needed:

– Insomnia
– Fibromyalgia
– Addiction to alcohol, tobacco, opium, cocaine and heroin
– Osteoarthritis
– Acne vulgaris
– Herpes zoster
– Ménière disease
– Sore throat (including tonsillitis)
– Bronchial asthma
– Ulcerative colitis, chronic
– Recurrent lower urinary-tract infection
– Prostatitis, chronic
– Premenstrual syndrome
– Female infertility
– Male sexual dysfunction, non-organic
– Diabetes mellitus, non-insulin-dependent
– Hyperlipaemia
– Obesity
– Cancer pain
– Postoperative convalescence.

Acupuncture has a very wide field of action because of its efficiency in treating a number of health problems. It can also be used as a prevention tool.

Martin Moisan, M.D.
Kanesatake Health Center
12, Joseph Swan
Kanesatake (Québec)

1. Document entitled Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials. For more information:

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