Acupuncture has been an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for many years. More recently in modern society as more people in western countries are diagnosed with various chronic diseases and are unhappy with modern medical therapies, many people are turning to acupuncture to alleviate their symptoms.
Acupuncture is based on the theory of harmonious flow of qi and how it is the basis for good health. It focuses on restoring the normal flow of our qi by manipulation of the complementary and opposing elements of yin and yang. The modern medical community is still struggling to accept the concept of qi due to the lack of historical and anatomic evidence supporting its existence.
However, with the surge in public interest in acupuncture, the medical community is now conducting various studies and investigations towards acupuncture’s efficacy. So far, several studies now support the use of acupuncture in post-operative vomiting and nausea, chronic and dental pain as well as psychological conditions such as addiction. It has been suggested that acupuncture can influence the release of endogenous opioids to promote pain relief.
Acupuncture as a therapeutic technique
Acupuncture relies upon the placement of thin and sterile needles along specified acupoints or meridians on the body. After placing the needles, the practitioner sometimes will manipulate the needles via electrical stimulation, heat or moxibustion, and acupressure in order to realign the body’s vital energies.
Although acupuncture is now widely accepted in western countries, it is first believed to have originated in China but spread to other nearby regions including Tibet, Japan, and Korea. Today, acupuncture has become part of the mainstream movement of alternative medicine practices in Australia, USA, and many European countries.
Acupuncture in Clinical Practice
The capability of acupuncture to influence pain is its most significant benefit, and this is one of the most widely known uses of this treatment. In 1998, researchers conducting a study for NIH released a statement regarding the use of acupuncture on several conditions such chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. It can also alleviate lower back pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, headache, smoking cessation, and depression.
However, it is essential that a licensed and experienced practitioner conduct this treatment.
Overall, acupuncture is an effective and safe complementary therapy, and you are unlikely to feel pain beyond your level of tolerance.