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Acupuncture

Acupuncture is about 3,000 years old and has survived cultural and political changes. It one of the oldest forms of medicine today. Some say it is nothing more than a placebo. If it is only a placebo it is the longest working placebo in history! Acupuncture is insertion of fine needles at very specific points on the surface of the body.

In an official report, the World Health Organization listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

  • Neck, low back pain and sciatica
  • Peri-arthritis of the shoulder, tennis elbow and knee pain, sprains
  • Headache
  • Facial pain (including cranio-mandibular disorders)
  • Dental pain, tempromandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  • Postoperative pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Primary dysmenorrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting, morning sickness
  • Correction of malposition of fetus (breech presentation), induction of labor
  • Essential hypertension, primary hypotension, stroke
  • Allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  • Leucopoenia, adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  • Renal colic, acute bacillary dysentery, biliary colic
  • Acute epigastralgia, peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis
  • Depression (including neurosis and depression following stroke)

The report continues with three more categories:

  1. Diseases, symptoms and conditions for which the therapeutic effect of acupuncture has been shown, but further proof is needed (68 specific conditions). These conditions are effectively treated as in the first category; it’s just that more trials are necessary to establish the proof scientifically
  2. Diseases, symptoms and conditions reporting some therapeutic effects for which acupuncture is worth trying (nine conditions)
  3. Diseases, symptoms and conditions in which acupuncture may be tried, provided the practitioner has special modern medical knowledge and adequate monitoring equipment (eight conditions)

How is Acupuncture Performed?

According to Chinese philosophy, acupuncture points located along  pathways, like a road map, are connected to organs and structures.  If the body’s energy is disrupted or blocked, it results in pain or illness. Needling points balances the energy, positively influencing organs, and structures. Acupuncture does not treat disease but allows the body to heal itself naturally. In Western medical terms, acupuncture  has demonstrated the following:

  1. Stimulates the release of endorphins (the body’s own pain-killer)
  2. Alters levels of neurotransmitters in the brain such as L-Dopamine, serotonin & norepinephrine
  3. Regulates hormones such as corticosteroids and insulin

How are Treatments Performed?

Very fine, surgical stainless steel needles are inserted into points located on the surface of the body’s arms, legs and in the ear. Other forms of treatment may be electrical micro-current stimulation or moxibustion (a form of heat therapy). The treatment is determined by the health issue itself.

During treatment, many patients report sensations of gentle warmth, heaviness, dullness, pressure or an electric sensation moving up or down the body. Patients comment feeling pleasant and relaxed, in some case they may fall asleep.

How many treatments are Necessary?

Each person is unique with the number of treatments varying. Many acute conditions only require one to four treatments. Generally, five to fifteen treatments are necessary for the majority of chronic disorders.  Some severe, more chronic degenerative conditions may need several series of treatments over a longer period of time.

What To Do Before a Treatment

  1. Maintain good personal hygiene
  2. Eat a protein meal 1-2 hours before a treatment
  3. Do not wear jewelry
  4. Wear loose clothing. Women should not wear one-piece dresses and should avoid tight stockings
  5. Do not have a treatment when emotionally upset, fatigued, hungry or full

What To Do During the Treatment

  1. Ask questions preferably before treatment but if need be, during the treatment
  2. Do not move suddenly or change position. If you are uncomfortable, tell the practitioner.
  3. Some may experience dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea or cold sweat. If you feel any pain or burning sensation tell your practitioner immediately so adjustments can be made.

What Can I Expect After a Treatment?

Patients may experience total or partial relief of pain or symptoms. Others may not see immediate relief but might find pain and symptoms diminished over the next few days following treatment.  The relief may extend for several days while in others it may return within a shorter time.  Regardless, one can expect to feel better.

Below is a small sampling of clinical studies citing the health benefits of acupuncture treatments.

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*This article/web page is Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of this article/page in it entirety or in part is permitted without written permission by Mark Rojek.