Acupuncture refers to the insertion of tiny, hair-thin needles into the skin at strategic points to ease pain and treat many illnesses. Practiced in China for more than 2,000 years, acupuncture is based on the belief that the body contains energy called qi (pronounced "chee") that flows throughout the body on pathways called meridians. When you're healthy, this energy flows freely, but during illness, the energy may be weak or blocked. During acupuncture treatment, the clinician tries to improve the energy flow along the meridians.

The improved energy flow produced by acupuncture results in stimulation of the body's natural healing abilities. Scientific research suggests that needling acupuncture points stimulates the body to release chemicals into the nervous system and into the bloodstream. These chemicals change the experience of pain and trigger the release of other substances that influence the body's internal regulatory systems. Acupuncture has proven successful in treating chronic pain conditions without side effects. It's also shown to be helpful in treating patients with:

  • Postoperative surgery and dental pain
  • Nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy
  • Sinusitis, bronchitis, and asthma
  • Gastritis, colitis, hiccups and constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Low back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Addiction
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Tennis elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

In the Medical Acupuncture Service at Boston Children's Hospital, our doctors are fully licensed in Western medicine and also have thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. The advantage is that the physician is able to integrate both conventional medicine and acupuncture to treat illness.