What is acupuncture?
A key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture is an alternative complementary therapy that focuses on the improvement of a person’s overall well being by stimulating specific points, called acupoints, in the body using thin needles and help relieve pain and treat various health conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
In TCM, it is believed that the natural flow of energy (Qi) in the body is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing. The Qi is said to flow through pathways, or meridians, in the body. These energy flows and meridians can be accessed through several acupuncture points in the body. Disruptions of this flow are responsible for any occurring diseases. The goal of acupuncture is to remove energy blockages and balance energy, which in turn helps in regulating physical, mental, and emotional health.
It is said that by inserting thin needles into the acupoints can bring the flow of Qi into proper balance. The stimulation of the acupoints helps increase blood flow while at the same time triggers the body’s natural painkillers.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture does not usually cause pain or discomfort. It is a common misconception that acupuncture hurts, and a reason why some people are hesitant in trying acupuncture. The treatment is not meant to hurt, but during the treatment, the patient may experience some sensations.
The sensation felt can vary between people depending on the overall sensitivity and level of pain tolerance. Sometimes, the first acupuncture sessions will be more painful than the following treatments. This is because certain acupoints are being activated for the first time.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Research has shown that acupuncture may have a role in relieving tension headaches and migraines. It is also said that it can help in relieving the following conditions:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee Pain
Acupunctures can only be beneficial if it:
- Is performed correctly
- Is combined with other treatments
- Can control some levels of pain
- May help patients whose pain medications are not suitable
- Has very few side effects
Conditions treated by acupuncture
In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed a number of health conditions in which acupuncture has been proven effective for. These include:
- high and low blood pressure
- chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea
- some gastric conditions, such as peptic ulcer
- painful menstrual periods
- allergic rhinitis
- facial pain
- morning sickness
- rheumatoid arthritis
- tennis elbow
- dental pain
- reducing the risk of stroke
- inducing labor