Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese art. Although still unproven, it is incredibly popular and many doctors recommend acupuncture treatment to patients as an alternative to chemical medications. Acupuncture works on the understanding that all living beings have energy, which is known as qi. Qi travels along twelve meridians, or energy lines, that are found within the body. Sometimes, the qi becomes blocked and this leads to problems we know as pain and illnesses, both physical and mental. During an acupuncture sessions, needles are inserted into specific body points, which restores the natural flow of qi.
According to WHO (World Health Organization) acupuncture is effective for treating 28 conditions, while evidence indicates it may have an effective therapeutic value for many more. People with tension headaches and/or migraines may find acupuncture to be very effective in alleviating their symptoms, according to a study carried out at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Another study at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that twice weekly acupuncture treatments relieve debilitating symptoms of xerostomia – severe dry mouth – among patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer.
Although millions of Americans use acupuncture each year, often for chronic pain, there has been considerable controversy surrounding its value as a therapy and whether it is anything more than placebo. Research exploring a number of possible mechanisms for acupuncture’s pain-relieving effects is ongoing.Scientists have long explored the cause behind efficacy of acupuncture. Some researchers suggest that pain relief from acupuncture occurs when acupuncture needles stimulate nerves. In addition acupuncture may also release pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin to ease symptoms. Acupuncture may also decrease pain-causing inflammation by stimulating the pituitary gland to release cortisol.
Acupuncture is a family of procedures involving stimulation of anatomical locations on or in the skin by a variety of techniques. The most thoroughly studied mechanism of stimulation of acupuncture points employs penetration of the skin by thin, solid, metallic needles, which are manipulated manually or by electrical stimulation. Upon insertion, the client may feel a slight sting or prick. Once the needle is inserted, there should be no pain. You should feel comfortable during the treatment. If you experience pain, numbness, or discomfort, notify the acupuncturist immediately.
What are the possible side effects of Acupuncture?
The most common serious injury reported from the needles of acupuncture has been accidental puncture of the lung. This results in a partial collapse of the lung called pneumothorax. The most common infection reported from acupuncture treatments is viral hepatitis, a potentially serious infection of the liver. Other side effects include bacterial infections locally at the site of needle insertion in the skin and elsewhere in the body. Generally, side effects seem to relate to poor hygiene and training of the acupuncturist.
Although much needs to be accomplished, the emergence of plausible mechanisms for the therapeutic effects of acupuncture is encouraging. The introduction of acupuncture into the choice of treatment modalities that are readily available to the public is in its early stages. It must be said once again that acupuncture is unproven by modern science. However, modern science isn’t the be all and end all of everything. Acupuncture has been around for a long time and most people who have undergone procedures categorically state that there are many acupuncture benefits. Because there are little or no dangerous side effects, most physicians agree that acupuncture treatments are good and safe alternative to chemical medications and certainly worth a try from conditions ranging from sickness and diarrhea to fertility problems and even cancer.