Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China that can be traced back for at least 2,500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture may correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.

Therapeutic insertion of very fine needles in various combinations and patterns is the foundation of medical acupuncture. The choice of needle patterns can be based on traditional principles such as encouraging the flow of qi (pronounced chee), as subtle vivifying energy, through classically described acupuncture channels, modern concepts such as recruiting neuroanatomical activities in segmental distributions, or a combination of these two principles.

A consensus panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded there is clear evidence that needle acupuncture treatment is effective for:
postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting,
nausea of pregnancy, and
postoperative dental pain.

It has also been studied, and utilized, for the treatment of the following conditions:

Hypertension, congestive heart failure, and other cardiovascular disorders
Eczema, psoriasis, and other dermatologic conditions
Various allergic and immunologic diseases
Gastric and duodenal peptic ulcer disease, and hypermotility syndromes
Mental and mood disorders
Numerous musculoskeletal disorders
Migraine, tinnitus, and chronic pain syndromes
Recovery from cerebrovascular accidents
Obesity and weight loss
Menopausal syndromes and infertility
Bronchial asthma
Substance abuse and alcoholism
Renal colic and nocturnal enuresis
Post-traumatic burns and injuries

HR 818 House bill for Medicare to pay for Acupuncture