What is it good for?
The short answer is - just about anything. Short of emergency situations, which obviously require a trip to the ER, and cancer, there is a viable treatment plan in Chinese medicine for just about any ailment that afflicts man. The caveat is, of course, that it isn't guaranteed to work. Realize that before western medicine arrived in China and most of Asia, sometime in the late 19th century, Chinese medicine was the only form of healthcare in the region.
What are the sorts of cases that I usually see? The big one is back pain. Then neck pain. After that is arthritis pain afflicting major joints. While acupuncture is great for pain issues, it's not limited to that alone. In no particular order, I've treated - headaches - any type outside of tumor-related; GI problems - Crohns, colitis, IBS, gastritis; shingles; gynecological issues - dysmenorrhea, fibroids, endometriosis; fertility; peri- and menopausal symptoms; I successfully treated a fellow with phantom limb pain - he'd lost the leg in WWII; skin conditions; mood-related disorders and sexual disfunction.
Acupuncture is good for a myriad of problems that you might not be aware. The key is to ask. If you're faced with a treatment that might be unsavory to you, it's worth your time to call your Chinese medicine practitioner and ask. The worst they can say is they can't help you.
The unconventional route, or the "road less traveled," isn't easy to find, especially with doctors who are too willing to prescribe an expensive drug. And even those who do have previous experience with acupuncture often forget about us until the problem is severe. A patient returned to my clinic today after 17 months complaining of a migraine headache so bad it caused vomiting. The patient didn't think to call us until the person who originally referred her to us, did so again.
For those seeking treatment, there's always an option or alternative to the conventional route. It may not always be better but a little research can often uncover it.