Acupuncture has its origins dating back thousands of years. Although its roots have been claimed to have originated from Asia, the Far East, and even from Europe, the development and progress of the art must primarily be attributed to the Chinese. Acupuncture balances the energy flow (Qi) throughout the body which is essential for health. Disruptions of this flow can cause disease. Acupuncture therapy was rare in the United States until the visit of President Nixon to China in 1972. After Eastern healing methods were introduced to the West, the use of acupuncture has become widespread in the United States and Europe. During the past decade, the medical community has begun to embrace alternative treatments as many studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating pain, allergies, palliative care with cancer patients for nausea and weakness, and many types of chronic illnesses.
A study done by the National Institute of Health in 1997 showed acupuncture to be effective in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. In other situations such as headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome, acupuncture was shown to help as an adjunct treatment or as an acceptable alternative to being included in a comprehensive management program. The World Health Organization also lists a variety of medical conditions that may benefit from the use of acupuncture or moxibustion. Such applications include prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting; treatment of pain and addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; treatment of pulmonary problems such as asthma and bronchitis; and rehabilitation from neurological damage such as that caused by stroke.