Acupuncture is part of an ancient system of Chinese medicine that has been used for more than 2,500 years to treat disease and relieve pain by restoring balance to the flow of energy (“qi”) through the body. Acupuncture theory believes that this qi moves throughout the body along twelve main channels (“meridians”) that represent the major organs and functions of the body and that applying thin needles to specific points achieves pain relief and other beneficial effects.
“Acupuncture is one of the better known types of alternative medicine,” says plastic surgeon and breast specialist Dr. Constance M. Chen. “Its acceptance has grown as physicians have come to see that it can be effective, and it is sometimes incorporated into conventional healthcare. In particular, acupuncture has shown promise when used in ‘perioperative care,’ in findings that its use before and after surgery can improve the clinical outcome and speed recovery.”