L'acupuncture : un service pour la santé moderne ?

Acupuncture: a service for modern health?

Oct 17, 2023

Acupuncture, an ancient method of treatment that dates back to more than 2,000 years of traditional Chinese medicine, has gradually established itself as an increasingly relevant practice in the contemporary medical landscape. But what does this ancestral therapy really consist of? What benefits can it offer?

The foundations of acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice , with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It is a therapeutic method based on the belief that vital energy, called "Qi", circulates through the body along invisible channels called meridians. Acupuncture aims to restore the body's energy balance by stimulating specific points along these meridians using fine needles.

Originating in ancient China, acupuncture finds its first traces in the “Huangdi Neijing” (or “Internal Classic of the Yellow Emperor”), a medical work dating from around 200 BC. This practice was based on the concept that imbalance of Qi was the source of illness . This approach thus considers the person as a whole.

Each meridian is associated with an organ or system of the body. By stimulating acupuncture points along these meridians, practitioners influence the energy balance of the associated organ. More than 360 acupuncture points are recognized, each with specific functions.

Acupuncture is deeply rooted in a Taoist medical philosophy based on Yin-Yang duality. According to this philosophy, the balance between these opposing energies is essential for health. Acupuncture practitioners note a patient's Yin-Yang imbalance by observing various clinical signs and design a personalized treatment involving stimulation of acupuncture points to restore this balance.


Evaluation of the effectiveness of acupuncture

The effectiveness of acupuncture in treating various conditions is a topic of major interest to researchers and healthcare professionals. Several clinical studies and evaluations have been carried out to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture.

In 2014, INSERM published a report entitled “Evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture”. This comprehensive review analyzed a multitude of clinical studies and scientific data regarding acupuncture. Here are the main conclusions:

  • Acupuncture is considered effective in the management of pain , particularly in the case of lower back pain, joint pain, headaches and neuropathic pain.
  • It can have a positive effect in the treatment of certain functional conditions such as digestive disorders, nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy, and sleep disorders.
  • Acupuncture is also seen as a promising option in the management of stress and anxiety-related disorders.

However, it is important to note that the INSERM report emphasizes that the effectiveness of acupuncture strongly depends on the choice of technique, the training of the practitioner, and the personalization of the treatment (based on the needs of the patient ).

The Academy of Medicine recognizes the effectiveness of acupuncture for the management of certain conditions, particularly pain. Indeed, although the precise mechanisms of acupuncture are not yet fully understood, numerous studies have demonstrated positive results .


Acupuncture in practice

Acupuncture has spanned the centuries. It thus continues to be used throughout the world to treat various conditions, while integrating into modern clinical practice as a complementary therapy.

Acupuncture points

How does an acupuncture session take place?

An acupuncture session usually begins with an initial consultation between the patient and the practitioner. During this consultation, the practitioner asks questions about the patient's medical symptoms, symptoms, general health, and concerns. This step mainly allows you to personalize the treatment.

Next, the patient is asked to lie down comfortably on a consultation table. The acupuncture practitioner then uses sterile, thin, disposable needles to stimulate specific acupuncture points. These needles are inserted at different depths into the skin, depending on the area to be treated. Once the needles are in place, the patient may feel a tingling sensation, warmth, or slight pressure. However, it doesn't have to be painful.

The needles are left in place for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. During this time, the patient is asked to relax. Some practitioners also use acupressure, moxibustion (heating of the needles), or electropuncture (electrical stimulation of the needles) techniques in addition to traditional acupuncture.

Who is qualified to practice acupuncture?

In France, acupuncture is considered a medical procedure. This is why only medical personnel are allowed to practice. These are mainly:

  • Doctors
  • Dental surgeons
  • Midwives (for actions related to their field of activity).

Are there any risks?

Acupuncture is generally considered a safe practice, as long as it is carried out by a qualified professional, under appropriate hygienic conditions. However, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with acupuncture : risk of pain when inserting the needles, light bleeding, risk of infection, etc. However, these are very limited risks.



Acupuncture, this ancient practice originating in traditional Chinese medicine, has evolved and adapted to contemporary medicine. Over the centuries, it has gained an important place within Western health systems, becoming an essential component of alternative medicine. This transition was notably facilitated by the completion of in-depth evaluations, which highlighted the effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of various conditions: pain relief, anxiety management, nausea induced by the pregnancy…

In sum, acupuncture offers a fascinating perspective on how traditional medicine can coexist with modern medicine. Its integration into modern healthcare provides patients with new treatment options and stimulates medical research. As scientists continue to explore the mechanisms of acupuncture and its potential applications, its role in contemporary medicine remains constantly evolving, offering new perspectives in improving health and well-being.

References :

Ministry of Health and Prevention. (March 2015). Acupuncture.

Inserm. (January 17, 2014). Evaluation of the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture.

Vidal. (March 8, 2013). Opinion of the Academy of Medicine on acupuncture, hypnosis, osteopathy and tai chi.

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