ACUPUNCTURE + Non-Invasive Medicine
Acupuncture is an ancient healing system that can be traced back to Persia and Egypt over 7,000 years ago. Different forms of acupuncture were practiced from Babylon to South America, some 3,000-5,000 years ago. Thus, it is said to be the oldest healing art known to man.
The benefits of acupuncture include:
- Pain relief for acute and chronic conditions
- Decreased stress and anxiety
- Acceleration of the healing process
- Aids in smoking cessation
- Relief of acute and chronic sinus congestion
- Complements other treatments for internal disorders
Most Americans were introduced to acupuncture during President Nixon’s 1972 trip to China. An American reporter, James Reston, developed a case of acute appendicitis while traveling with the President. His surgery, using acupuncture as anesthesia, was widely covered by the American press. Today, acupuncture is practiced worldwide in many forms and with many different techniques.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is composed of acupuncture and herbs. In a very general sense, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches that energy, or Qi, travels through the body via pathways, or meridians. If the Qi flow is altered, the resulting deficiency, excess, or stagnation of this energy causes disruption of the system and can result in illness or the inability to heal properly.
At specific locations along the meridians the energy may be regulated. These are called acupoints. Typically, very fine needles are inserted at specific locations and are used to restore the proper Qi flow, thereby returning the body to a state of improved health and decreased pain.
Typical conditions treated with acupuncture include: anxiety/depression, arthritis, asthma, pain, eczema, sports injuries, allergies and hayfever, migraine, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal problems and pregnancy management and delivery. It can also used in a preventative manner to boost the immune system response and keep the body" in tune."
Acupuncture has been widely researched. As a result, acupuncture is more accepted by western medicine.
Studies have shown that acupuncture:
- alters blood flow and stimulates the nervous system via neurotransmitter release (endorphins)
- causes the pituitary gland to discharge pain-blockers and to initiate a process that releases
anti-inflammatory agents into the bloodstream.
According to the National Institute of Health Consensus Statement on Acupuncture, there have been many studies on the efficacy of acupuncture. For example, in adult postoperative, chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and in postoperative dental pain acupuncture was shown to reduce pain and nausea. In situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, acupuncture has been shown to be useful as an adjunct or alternative treatment to conventional medicine. A recent study, by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that acupuncture provides pain relief and improves function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee (Annals of Internal Medicine. 2004). Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.
Some Recent Acupuncture Research
2004 study of acupuncture for chronic headache disorders suggested “acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine.” (Health Technol. Assess., Nov. 2004)
Recent published article evaluated acupuncture treatment for the reduction of chronic pain in neck and shoulders and related HA. The results showed that acupuncture “may reduce chronic pain in the neck and shoulders and related headache. And the effect lasted for at least 3 years. (Pain, June, 2004)
Recent article evaluated electroacupuncture only on distal areas (areas farther from the head)only. The conclusion was that these treatment points alone were effective for short-term symptomatic relief of tension-type headache. (Headache, April 2004)
British study evaluated the cost effectiveness of acupuncture in managing chronic HA. The conclusion was that this “improved health related quality of life at a small additional cost. It further stated that it was relatively cost-effective. (BMJ, March 2004)
South Korean study of acupuncture mechanisms “suggested that acupuncture has an inhibitory effect on pro-inflammatory cytokine production in patients with chronic headache.” (Am J Chinese Med., 2003)
Italian study compared TENS, lasertherapy and acupuncture for treatment of migraine. The conclusion was that each treatment alone was “effective in reducing the frequency of attacks” and that acupuncture showed the “best effectiveness over time.” (Neurol Sci., May 2003)
2003 study published in Journal of Internal Medicine evaluated whether acupuncture was superior to placebo and equal to sumatriptan for early treatment of acute migraine. The conclusion was that acupuncture and sumaptriptan were more effective that placebo and when attack could not be prevented, sumatriptan was more effective in relieving HA.
To find out more about acupuncture see http://www.acupuncture.com/research/ or