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             Alternative medicine, long dismissed by mainstream doctors, is getting a second look as many people in the United States have turned to acupuncture to treat a variety of problems. Proponents of acupuncture have accumulated many statistics and surveys in favor of this ancient method. Even though, many medical professionals still question its validity due to the discovery of adverse effects of acupuncture and problems in researching alternative medicines.
             Acupuncture is defined as the "art of healing by the inserting of needles into specific points of the body for therapeutic purposes" (Weiss 70). Needles that are slightly larger than a strand of hair are inserted into different points depending on the specific problem of the patient. The needle is placed in the skin at a certain angle with a particular motion, usually about a quarter inch deep. They are then twirled and sometimes topped with Chinese herbs, which are burned (Abrams 103). Acupuncture is also occasionally combined with electrical stimulation that is supposed to enhance the effects of acupuncture (Consumer 54). Patients that have experienced the treatment claim that acupuncture "is less painful than getting a shot or having blood drawn because the needles are so thin" (Weiss 73). .
             The question remaining involves the legitimacy of acupuncture treatments. It has a long history of success in Asia dating back over 5,000 years (Duke 224). The method approaches problems as "patterns of disharmony" which are responsible for poor health in individuals (Consumer 55). Oriental acupuncturists believe that either yin or yang, .
             whose balance affects everything in the universe, influences each of the body's organs. They also believe that the body is full of pathways of energy called qi. Acupuncture restores the normal energy flow of qi that in turn helps the yin or yang, or the organ. Qi can be found on any of the 400 different acupuncture points on 14 meridians, or energy channels in the body (Abrams 102).

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