Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kendall. Kendall Wonders, “What is acupuncture?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kendall!

What makes you feel better when you’re sick? A hot bowl of soup? A long nap? Have you ever tried gargling with saltwater? How about asking a doctor to stick needles through your skin?

That last idea may sound a little different. But many people say it works! Acupuncture is the use of needles to put pressure on special points on the body. These are called acupoints. The human body has over 2,000 of them!

Acupuncture has been around for a long time. It’s part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and started before 2500 BCE. From there, it spread all over the world. Today, many people still turn to the ancient practice to treat pain.

Are you WONDERing how acupuncture works? In TCM, it’s based on the idea of Qi (“chee”). Qi is the life force or energy that flows through the body.  Acupuncture is said to aid in the flow of Qi.

Today, experts have learned that acupuncture works with the body’s nervous system. By doing so, it can help stop pain. Many people also find that the practice improves issues of the immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems. 

Have you ever had a bad headache? How about back pain? Acupuncture helps both of these issues. Studies have found that it also helps with hay fever and depression, among other conditions. 

Sometimes, acupuncture is even used for pain relief during surgery. Instead of being put to sleep, the patient can stay awake. A doctor places needles to keep them from feeling the pain. This is most common in China.

Is acupuncture safe? As long as it’s done by an expert, yes! Certified acupuncturists will always use sterile needles. Wrongly placed needles can cause serious injury. That means it’s important to see someone who knows what they’re doing.

Acupuncture may be the best-known practice in TCM. But plenty of other ancient practices still exist today. Many people still believe Chinese herbal medicine improves their health. Others turn to Tai Chi, a form of martial arts believed to improve the flow of Qi. 

Have you ever tried acupuncture? Many patients swear by it! Scientific research shows it helps with many medical problems. It may not be the right treatment if you dislike needles. Otherwise, this ancient practice may be worth a shot!

Standards: NGSS.LS1.D, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.SL.2

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