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We often go to acupuncturists to fix a problem that already persists. Once an imbalance has been present in the body for some time, it can create a deeper health problem. But according to experts, getting acupuncture on a regular basis can stop imbalances before they begin to wreak havoc on your overall health. Here’s a deeper look at why acupuncture might be something that you should consider adding to your health repertoire.

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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine that involves stimulating the body to heal itself through the application of needles at various points on the body. The stimulation of acupuncture points impacts the central nervous system triggering the release of natural chemicals in the body, such as endorphins and enkephalins, which may have pain relieving properties.

While it was developed a millennia ago, in recent years research has begun to backup what enthusiasts have long contended: this ancient practice works. A large October 2012 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was effective at treating chronic pain. The study found that “[a]cupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is, therefore, a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo.”

Another study, published in the journal of the American Cancer Society found that acupuncture may work to reduce the symptoms of nausea in cancer patients.

“Right now acupuncture is really used to alleviate cancer treatment-induced side effects or cancer-induced symptoms, but never to directly treat cancer,” study author Dr. Ting Bao told Live Science. “It would be really interesting to see if acupuncture can help prevent cancer. But I don’t think the research has reached that level yet.”

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