Q: Does acupuncture really work? I have long term lower back pain and friends have suggested I try it. I’m not sure how I feel about having lots of little needles stuck in my body. …………………. Hank, T
A: It does sound a bit gruesome, like an old fashioned form of torture, lots of needles inserted all over your body, brrrr. But creepy as it sounds, it is now a widely accepted form of pain relief in the Western world. It is gaining in popularity in the alternative health community and studies are showing positive results when acupuncture is used in a wide range of health related issues. It is estimated that three million Americans now use acupuncture.
Native Chinese patients have relied on this and all forms of Chinese medicine for more than three thousand years. Isn’t it interesting that the ‘advanced’ western civilization has just ‘found’ something that has been working for a long long time? Acupuncture is just one part of Chinese medicine, which also encompasses herbal treatments, tongue and pulse diagnostics, body work, cupping, gua sha and nutritional counseling.
Acupuncture releases the blocks in the body’s natural flow or energy channels, also called the chi. Thin needles are placed at particular points along the 14 energy pathways. Scientists say that the needles cause the body to release endorphins - the body’s own natural pain killers - and may boost blood flow and brain activity.
Do the needles hurt? My personal experience of the treatments did not include any pain from the needles, just sort of an odd feeling, a new experience without a frame of reference. Most people do not experience pain, but there can be sensitivity later at the individual sites, perhaps due to the increased energy flow.
Many people experience increased energy after a treatment, and relief from chronic pain. Back pain responds particularly well to these treatments, as do migraine headaches, arthritis, carpal tunnel and fibromyalgia. Dental pain may also be averted with the use of acupuncture. Chinese medicine in its native setting is used to treat all kinds of ailments. The World Health Organization recognizes 28 different conditions for which acupuncture is used as a treatment.
Cancer patients often have relief from the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, working as well as, and often better, than other remedies. There has also been some success reported among celebrities in fertility treatments when acupuncture is used along with fertility treatments
There are variations of treatments that stimulate the acupuncture points, including electrical stimulation of the needles (still sounds a little gruesome) and moxibustion, a process of heating the needles and the skin. A more recent variation uses laser needles that are placed on the skin instead of in the skin.
Choose a certified practitioner and be sure they use new, sterile, disposable needles for the treatment.
- Sunday, 29 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ask Madalyn