The Chinese have a long tradition with acupuncture, which speaks to its effectiveness. Surely patients would not submit to a treatment involving needles if it were not so! Yet the success of this treatment has nothing to do with the action of the needles, which are in this but a prop. The success of the treatment is a byproduct, caused in fact by the distraction of pain. So many illnesses are caused by nervous tension, and so many more affected, that nervous tension is perhaps the most prominent cause of physical distress. Headaches, belly aches, aches in the joints or muscles, tight throat, sour stomach, constipation, loose bowel, numbness, blurry eyesight, ringing in the ears - take away nervous tension and most of this goes away.
The suffering one goes to the acupuncturist, in distress, resigned to the prospect of all those needles. Natural anesthesia is used as none else is offered. Put your mind somewhere else, disconnect from reality, float past the stinging pain, think about the relaxing heat coming through the needles, concentrate on the healing process one imagines is in process - and through all of this, like magic, the patient forgets that which was making them tense. They relax, feel better, and credit the acupuncture which, in truth, they should.