Like Reiki and meditation, acupuncture is a thousand-year-old technique that has been passed through generations around the world. This is one of the several Chinese healing strategies that have been proven to really be effective in reducing and curing many ailments. In the United States, a large percentage of Americans have included acupuncture in their treatment regimens. In fact, there had been an overwhelming rise in individuals who have visited acupuncture clinics in 2007 onwards.
How does acupuncture work?
I think we’ve all seen, first-hand and through the web, what acupuncture principally utilizes. With the use of needles, this technique is supposedly going to cure one of physical, emotional and mental conditions. But how?
The acupuncturist aims to enhance an individual’s body function by targeting specific anatomic areas called acupuncture points. When these points are triggered, they awaken the areas that may not have been working appropriately and those areas that need a boost of ‘qi’ or energy in order to attain optimal health. It actually impacts all systems in our body, particularly the nervous, immune and digestive systems.
Aside from needle stimulation, traditional Chinese medicine also uses massage therapy, cupping, the use of herbal medicines, and heat therapy to stimulate acupuncture points.
What happens in a typical acupuncture treatment?
Before anything, the therapist goes through a detailed discussion of the individual’s history regarding his health – his past and current condition, a physical examination, and why he went there in the first place. Through the information that the therapist is able to gather, he starts placing fine needles softly onto the individual’s acupoints. Treatment usually takes 10 to 30 minutes, and those who have tried it attest that they don’t feel pain at all – only pure relaxation.
What are the conditions that can be treated by acupuncture?
- Headaches and migraines. Several studies have suggested that direct acupuncture to the head and neck areas further increases migraine pain because of the dilatation of blood vessels throughout the head. Thus, a trial was done on individuals with migraines and acupuncture applied on the lower body. This effectively increased blood flow and blood circulation throughout the face, producing pain relief.
- Insomnia. Acupuncture does this by stimulating the secretion of melatonin, which induces sleep. A study showed that treatment through targeting the acupoints was more effective than taking sleep medications, which have potentially dangerous side effects.
- Depression and anxiety. Because of its direct effect on the nervous system, acupuncture produces generalized relaxation, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. It has also shown to decrease stress and soothe pregnancy and labor pain.
- Chemo and cancer recovery. Because it has a way of boosting one’s energy effectively, doctors recommend that individuals who are into cancer and chemo recovery should incorporate acupuncture into their regimen.
- Chronic pain as in osteoarthritis. There have been a lot of trials made for acupuncture treating osteoarthritis pain, and it has been proven that in combination with traditional therapy, individuals with arthritis experienced a reduction in pain and increase in mobility of their joints.
Because of the tremendous positive outcomes from several trials and studies, more and more people have been turning to acupuncture in conjunction with their medical treatments, or even by itself. Although its exact mechanism is not really clear yet, doctors find that it is worth recommending, simply because there is just no reason to stop doing it.