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Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which utilizes the insertion of very thin needles, heat, pressure and other treatments to certain locations (acupuncture points) on the body. These points on the body are connected to networks or pathways called meridians through which qi (vital energy) flows. TCM is a whole medical system, which has been in use for thousands of years to treat, prevent and diagnose disease. Other forms of TCM include Qigong (which incorporates movement, breath, stretching), Chinese herbal medicine, massage and meditation.
Acupuncture has been shown to help with nausea, pain, fatigue, anxiety and stress.
In Washington State, a practitioner who has passed a national certification process after completion of an accredited program (usually four years of post-graduate study) can become licensed as an acupuncturist (LAc). Medical acupuncturists are medical doctors (M.D.s) or doctors of osteopathy (D.O.s) who do acupuncture only.