Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Acupuncture Mechanisms

  • Christer P.O. Carlsson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_59


 Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapeutic method for the treatment of different symptoms including pain. Thin, solid needles are inserted into proposed specific points on the body, called acupuncture points. The needles are inserted through the skin to varying depths, often into the underlying musculature. The needles are often twirled slowly for a short time, 30–60 s and may be left in place for a varying time, 2–30 min. Many modifications of the method have been described and the concept of acupuncture is not well defined. The method of applying electrical stimulation via acupuncture needles,  electro-acupuncture (EA), was introduced in 1958.

The treatments are usually applied in series of 8–12 sessions, each treatment lasting 20–30 min and separated by 1/2–2 weeks. Needling is often performed with some needles near the source of pain (called local points), and some other needles on the forearms and lower legs (called distal points).

Common Clinical Observations...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christer P.O. Carlsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Rehabilitation DepartmentLunds University HosptialLundSweden