Acupuncture, an important component of traditional Chinese medicine, involves the stimulation of one or more predetermined points on the body with sterile, disposable needles. Originally the procedure was believed to relieve blockage from meridians thought to connect the body's various organs, thus permitting the normal flow of energy and return to health. Modern research shows that some effects of acupuncture have a neurological basis. 

The ability of acupuncture to control chronic headaches, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain associated with the back, neck, and shoulders, is well established. Studies also show that it can reduce procedural anxiety and improve allergic rhinitis. Findings from a recent study indicate that acupuncture is as effective as counseling in controlling symptoms of depression. 

Current evidence also supports the role of acupuncture in alleviating post-operative and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, xerostomia (extreme dry mouth), and hot flashes. Preliminary studies also suggest that acupuncture can help relieve lymphedema in breast cancer patients. A large randomized, controlled trial is currently underway to confirm this effect.

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