All you need to know about Acupuncture !
16-06-2017 | Posted By: Chhavi | 1308 View(s)
An Overview of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine and is widely practised all over the world. It is considered as a complementary medical practice in which certain points in the body are stimulated, most often with a needle to increase the energy flow. This helps in reducing pain and treating various health conditions.
According to WHO, acupuncture is highly effective for treating 28 health conditions. However, evidence indicates that it may have an effective therapeutic value for much more. According to the latest study carried out at the Technical University of Munich, Germany- this treatment can be very effective for people with headaches, migraine and stress.
There was another study conducted at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in which it was found that this Chinese treatment for twice a week can relieve debilitating symptoms of xerostomia – severe dry mouth – among patients treated with radiation for head and neck cancer.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, proved that it is, as many patients attest, more effective than a placebo (or a “sham” version of acupuncture) for alleviating back, shoulder, and neck pain, as well as chronic headaches and osteoarthritis.
Interestingly, it is still unclear how exactly acupuncture does this. Nevertheless, the researchers noted that their results might help people gain access to the treatment since “many clinicians would feel uncomfortable” referring patients to a treatment that wasn’t proven to be effective. Similarly, they remarked that health insurance reimbursements are less likely for treatments “that do not have specific effects.”
The study, which took about half a decade to complete and involved a detailed analysis of many earlier studies, provides “the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain,” according to the authors.
How Does it Work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy which describes the human body in terms of two opposing forces which are: yin and yang. When there is a harmonious balance between these two forces, the body is healthy. The ancient Chinese theory also suggests that energy, called “qi” (pronounced Chee) flows throughout our body along specific pathways, which are called meridians. When this energy constantly flows in the body, the yin and yang forces are balanced.
The acupuncturists believe that when something unbalances or blocks our energy, i.e. qi, illness occurs. They also believe that this treatment is an effective way to influence or unblock chi so that energy can flow back into balance. It is said that when needles are inserted into those points where energy is not flowing properly, the energy flow is brought back into proper balance.
Western societies and several other parts of the world, this Chinese treatment is explained in relation with neuroscience. For the Western practitioners, acupuncture points are the places where muscles, nerves and connective tissue can be stimulated. They believe that this stimulation helps in increasing the blood flow, improve sleep, improve the digestive system and relieve pain. The latest researches have shown that this treatment is highly effective on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system and endocrine system.
Administration of the Treatment:
Firstly, the acupuncturist will ask various questions to know about your health history. Then, he or she will perform physical examination like examining your tongue’s shape, colour and feel your pulse. After making a proper assessment, the acupuncturist will ask you to lay comfortable and will look for the points on your body to detect the ‘qi’ that is not flowing appropriately or is blocked. Each point in our body is related to certain health problems or body functions. After the acupuncturist finds the points, he or she will tap thin needles into your skin. The needles are retained for 5 to 30 minutes.
The frequency and number of treatments needed to treat a health condition differ from person to person. Sometimes people experience relief in the first treatment itself. However, for complex or chronic conditions, it is recommended that the patient visits one to two times per week for several months. For acute problems, usually, eight to ten visits are required for the treatment. The acupuncturist will initially discuss an individualised treatment plan which will include the expected number of treatments.
Uses of Acupuncture:
This treatment is given to people to relieve pain and treat various health conditions. Studies have found that this ancient Chinese treatment is highly effective to treat nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, chemotherapy and post-surgery pain.
This treatment can be useful for the below-mentioned Health Conditions:
• A Headache and Migraines– This treatment helps in relieving the pain of Headaches and also treats different types of Migraines.
• Stroke rehabilitation– This treatment helps people in relearning those skills that they have lost due to brain damage or a stroke.
• It helps in reducing pain during Menstruation.
• It is helpful in treating Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterised by pain and tenderness of muscle and soft tissue.
• Low back pain– Studies suggest that this treatment helps in reducing pain and disability related to back problems. Thus, those who have low back pain must go for this treatment to relieve pain.
• Carpal tunnel syndrome– It is a medical condition characterised by pressure on a nerve in the wrist which results in tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in the fingers and hand.
• Asthma-This treatment helps in treating Asthma.
• Drug addiction– It also helps in preventing relapse and also assists in reducing the symptoms of withdrawal after a person stops taking drugs.
• Dental pain– This treatment helps in relieving Dental Pain.
• Labour pain– It may also be effective in relieving Labour Pain for pregnant women.
Safety of the Treatment:
The treatment is safe if a certified acupuncturist does the treatment. Problems may occur after this treatment, but that happens very rarely. If the needles are not sterile, you could get an infection. Make sure that your acupuncturist uses a new pack of sterile needles every time before the treatment. You can also consult your doctor if you have any questions regarding the safety of this Chinese treatment.
You can talk to your doctor and ask him or her about the safety of this treatment. You must always tell your doctor if you are using this treatment.