Acupuncture is a medical practice that originated in ancient China. Through the years, the practice has evolved and reached different parts of the world. Today, acupuncture is already widely accepted and practiced as part of our modern healthcare system.
Eastern vs. Western
In Eastern acupuncture, needles are inserted through the certain points in the patient’s body. It works behind the premise that Qi or energy flow patterns are present throughout the body and are important for health. Diseases can be caused by the disruption of the flows and acupuncture corrects the imbalances of the flows.
In the Western view, acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system in order to release hormones and neurotransmitters. These can boost the immune system, regulate body functions, and ease pain.
How it Works
In acupuncture, the practitioner uses a very thin needle to insert through the skin and is usually left for 10 to 20 minutes. The appropriate pressure point can be far from the patient’s area of pain. Sometimes, the practitioner applies pressure to the needle or wiggles it around. This helps in stimulating the pressure points. Electric currents or sound waves also do this trick.
Studies show that acupuncture causes biological responses that occur locally, near the area of application, or at a distance. This leads to the pathway activations that affect physiological systems and the periphery. The simulation through acupuncture also activates the pituitary gland and hypothalamus that give wide systemic effects. The process also changes blood flow both centrally and peripherally. Evidence shows that acupuncture alters the immune functions.
Acupuncture is used to relieve the discomforts of certain conditions and diseases like, dental pain, fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps, chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea, asthma, diarrhea, sinusitis, stress and anxiety, and bronchitis.
There have been scientific studies that prove that acupuncture can relieve pain caused by migraine and osteoarthritis. It can be used as a lone treatment or combined with other traditional medical treatments or alternative remedies.
How to Prepare
Although no special preparation is required for acupuncture, patients are advised to choose a qualified acupuncturist before trying the procedure. Each acupuncturist has a unique style. Check the practitioner’s credentials and make sure that the center is credible.