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Acupuncture is a form of treatment that has multiple benefits

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  • 2020-05-08 11:04



Research suggests that Acupuncture can help relieve pain, and it is used for a wide range of other complaints.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there is supportive for its effectiveness in treating pain.

Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner's hands or with electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture is part of the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways or meridians. These pathways create an energy flow (Qi, pronounced "chee") through the body that is responsible for overall health. Disruption of the energy flow can cause disease. By applying acupuncture to certain points, it is thought to improve the flow of Qi, thereby improving health.

Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for a variety of conditions.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner's hands or with electrical stimulation.

How does it work?

Traditional Chinese medicine explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” of the life force known as “qi,” pronounced “chi.” Illness is said to be the consequence of an imbalance of the forces.

Qi is said to flow through meridians, or pathways, in the human body. These meridiens and energy flows are accessible through 350 acupuncture points in the body.

Inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations is said to bring the energy flow back into proper balance.

Some experts have used neuroscience to explain acupuncture. Acupuncture points are seen as places where nerves, muscles, and connective tissue can be stimulated. The stimulation increases blood flow, while at the same time triggering the activity of the body’s natural painkillers.

Uses

Research carried out in Germany has shown that acupuncture may help relieve tension headaches and migraines.

The NCCIH note that it has been proven to help in cases of:

  • low back pain
  • neck pain
  • osteoarthritis
  • knee pain
  • headache and migraine

They list additional disorders that may benefit from acupuncture, but which require further scientific confirmation.

In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in which they say acupuncture has been proven effective.

These include:

Other conditions for which the WHO say that acupuncture may help but more evidence is needed include:

  • fibromyalgia
  • neuralgia
  • post-operative convalescence
  • substance, tobaccor and alcohol dependence
  • spine pain
  • stiff neck
  • vascular dementia
  • whooping cough, or pertussis
  • Tourette syndrome

The WHO also suggest that it may help treat a number of infections, including some urinary tract infections and epidemic hemorrhagic fever.

Benefits

Acupuncture can be beneficial in that:

  • Performed correctly, it is safe.
  • There are very few side effects.
  • It can be effectively combined with other treatments.
  • It can control some types of pain.
  • It may help patients for whom pain medications are not suitable.

What to expect

According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture points are located on meridians, through which vital energy runs. This energy is known as “qi” or “chi.”

An acupuncturist will examine the patient and assess their condition, insert one or more thin, sterile needles, and offer advice on self-care or other complementary therapies, such as Chinese herbs.

The patient will be asked to lie down on their back, front, or one side, depending on where the needles are to be inserted. The acupuncturist should use single-use, disposable, sterile needles. As each needle is inserted, the patient may feel a very brief stinging or tingling sensation.

After the needle is inserted, there is occasionally a dull ache at the base of the needle that then subsides. Acupuncture is usually relatively painless.

Sometimes the needles are heated or stimulated with electricity after insertion.

The needles will stay in place for between 5 and 30 minutes.

The number of treatments needed depend on the individual. A person with a chronic condition may need one to two treatments a week over several months. An acute problem normally improves after 8 to 12 sessions.

Instead of needles, other forms of stimulation are sometimes used over the acupuncture points, including:

· Heat (moxibustion)

· Pressure (acupressure)

· Friction

· Suction (cupping)

· Impulses of electromagnetic energy

As with any complementary therapy, it is advisable to use it alongside conventional treatments and consult your physician before starting any new treatment.

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