Acupuncture is one of the most used practices within Oriental Medicine. It is developed in China over 3,000 years ago in treating illnesses or disorders that is being used effectively even today. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting fine needles into specific points (called acupoints) on the body along its meridians, or the pathways to influence the energy flow. Sometimes heat, pressure, or mild electrical current is used along with needles depending on the patient’s differential diagnostic needs.
Acupuncture can be used to promote health, manage pain, and treat many illnesses and diseases commonly including arthritis, headaches, back injuries, sports-related injuries, and stress-related traumatic disorder such as PTSD. The World Health Organization cited acupuncture to treat numerous conditions including fibromyalgia, asthma, stroke rehabilitation, depression, addiction and many more.
Acupuncture needles stimulate the acu-points based on ancient Chinese theory of energy (Qi) and blood (Xue) flowing into a specific meridian and pathways, such as nerves and blood vessels, to reduce pain and restore balance, and promotes general health and trigger to increase immune system’s response to potential diseases or disorder.
For instance, from the basis western science approach, the effectiveness of pain reduction with acupuncture can be explained using the Gate Control Theory of Pain. By stimulating the myofascial trigger point (acupuoints), it signals the brain stem through spinal cord to secrete pain relieving hormone known as DIS (descending inhibitory signal ) to reduce pain sensation.
Acupuncture can be effectively used to promote health, manage pain, and treat many illnesses and diseases and disorder that are included in the Eastern Medicine above.
Acupuncture needles are actually very thin, that is much thinner than general hypodermic needles, and short, and are inserted various depths depending on the differential diagnosis for specific ailment. The acupuncture needles are individually packaged at the manufacturer and they are completely sterile. Each needle is a single use only, i.e., they are discarded after each treatment.
In addition to the traditional, most popular needle treatment of acupuncture, there are some other forms and derivatives as well. Electroacupuncture involves a small electric current being passed between pairs of needles while they are in the body, which according to some practitioners is a useful adjunct of regular acupuncture. It is particularly good for pain treatment. Moxibustion is another TCM technique in which mugwort is burned on or very close to the skin, with the intent to warm and stimulate the flow of Qi throughout the body. It also works to strengthen the blood and dispel pathogenic influences. A third is cupping therapy, in which the practitioner places cups along the patient’s skin to create suction for several minutes at a time. They work to loosen muscles, invigorate blood flow, and sedate the nervous system. Other uses include treatment for pain and inflammation, promotion of relaxation and well-being, and is also considered a type of deep-tissue massage.
A big concern with engaging in acupuncture is pain: how can having needles stuck everywhere on your body not be painful? Acupuncture needles actually rarely cause pain. Each patient experiences acupuncture differently. Some may feel numbness at the needle spots, while some feel tingling, itching, sore, or some don’t feel anything at all. Though some patients may feel uncomfortable during treatment, pain is rarely ever an issue. Once patients become accustomed to and more relaxed during acupuncture treatment, it is not uncommon for them to fall asleep during treatment.