Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine used for over 3000
years, involving the insertion of solid filiform and sterile acupuncture
needles into the skin at specific points to achieve therapeutic effect. It also
helps and encourages the body to promote natural healing by harmonizing the
flow of Qi throughout specific channels called Meridians.
Acupuncture is based on the principle that there are energetic
pathways throughout the body that influence associated internal organs and the
energy from these pathways surfaces at specific points throughout the body
called Acupoints. Acupuncturists use these Acupoints to affect the related diseased
channels and organs.
How does Acupuncture work?
When talking about Acupuncture, some people may have questions
like “how does it work?” or “does it really work?” For the past 60 years scientists have been trying to understand the biochemical and biological effects of
Acupuncture. They have found evidence based on clinical research that Acupuncture does indeed work.
In addition, Acupuncture has been successful for over 3000 years
without the help of western medicine. Even during the last three decades which we had outstanding improvements in western
medicine, Acupuncture has been successfully used in treating diseases.
There are different principles on how Acupuncture works:
. Acupuncture raises levels of triglycerides,
prostaglandins, white blood counts, gamma globulins and overall antibody
levels. So, it can treat immune system diseases.
. Acupuncture increases the secretion of endorphins. Endorphins
are our body’s natural pain killers and are 1000 times stronger than morphine. Therefore,
it is effective for most painful diseases.
. Acupuncture dilates the blood vessels. This is due the body’s release of vasodilators (such as histamine)
in response to acupuncture and helps in treatment of edema and injuries.
. Acupuncture can affect neurotransmitter levels
(such as serotonin and noradrenaline). The reason Acupuncture is successful in treating depression and mood disorders is it's effect on these neurotransmitter levels. Thus, patients feel relaxed after Acupuncture treatment.
What are some indications for Acupuncture?
According to WHO (World Health Organization) the following
disease, symptoms and conditions have been treated effectively by Acupuncture:
Low back pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, headache, periarthritis
of the shoulder, sprains, facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders), dental
pain, tempromandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, induction of
labor, correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation), nausea and
vomiting, postoperative pain, stroke, neck pain, knee pain, morning sickness, essential
hypertension, primary hypotension, renal colic, leucopenia, adverse reactions
to radiation or chemotherapy, allergic rhinitis, including hay fever, biliary
colic, depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following
stroke), acute bacillary dysentery, primary dysmenorrhea, acute epigastralgia, peptic
ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis.
There are lots of other conditions and diseases which have been
treated by Acupuncture but need more clinical trials to prove its efficacy.
What is Electro-Acupuncture?
Using electric current by connecting electricity between
two needles is called Electro-Acupuncture.
This technique is not as old as traditional Acupuncture and was first
used by physicians in France and Italy in early 1800s. Electro-Acupuncture is
considered to be especially useful in chronic pain syndromes, or in cases where
the Qi is difficult to stimulate. In the United States It has been effectively
used as a pain reliever for muscle spasms and a treatment for neurological
Do I feel pain during Acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible compared to hypodermic needles which we use for blood withdrawal. Each Acupuncture needle is about the diameter
of a human hair. These filiform Acupuncture needles range from 0.12 millimeters
to 0.20 millimeters in diameter while hypodermic needles are usually about 0.80
millimeters in diameter. Insertion by a skilled practitioner usually will be
completely pain free.
This is a question everybody has when confronting a disease.
First of all one should not choose between them. Acupuncture and western
medicine can be combined together for a better result. "Western"
medicine is more appropriate for certain medical conditions but has its own
side effects too, while Acupuncture can be practiced without any side effect. In addition, Oriental Medicine looks at the body as a whole system working together and tries to treat diseases in a similar fashion.
Acupuncture has been successful in treating some chronic disease cases for which western
medicine had no answers for that condition. In general, if Acupuncture and western Medicine are used together one gets the most benefit out of the treatment. In other words, choosing a Medical Doctor who studied Acupuncture and Oriental
Medicine as your Acupuncturist can be a good idea.