How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites–commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin.
Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects.
Other acupoint stimulation techniques include: manual massage, moxibustion or heat therapy, cupping, and the application of topical herbal medicines and linaments.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang.
When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy.
Energy, called “qi” (pronounced “chee”) flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body.
This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.
By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.
Which Diseases Can be Helped by Acupuncture
Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions ranging from stress/anxiety to pain to disease.
The following is a list of common conditions for which acupuncture has been proven effective in clinical studies, according to the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Breech position in pregnancy.
- Induction of labor.
- Knee pain.
- Low back pain.
- Menstrual pain.
- Morning sickness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Neck pain.
- Postoperative pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Tennis elbow.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
The WHO also recognizes other conditions for which acupuncture has shown efficacy but further research is necessary.
How many treatments will I need?
The frequency and number of treatments differ from person to person.
Some people experience dramatic relief in the first treatment.
For complex or long-standing chronic conditions, one to two treatments per week for several months may be recommended.
For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, usually eight to ten visits in total.
An individualized treatment plan that includes the expected number of treatments will be discussed during your initial visit.
technique is a form of acupuncture where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles.
This practice augments the use of regular acupuncture, can restore health and well-being, and is particularly good for treating pain, and amplifying the effects of acupuncture.
Electrotherapy can apply to a variety of treatments, including the use of electrical devices such as deep brain stimulators for neurological disease.
The treatment technique has also been applied specifically to the use of electric current to speed wound healing.
Additionally, “electrotherapy” or “electromagnetic therapy” has also been applied to a range of alternative medical devices and treatments.