What is it?
Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
How does it work?
The classical Chinese explanation is that channels of energy run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These energy channels, called ‘meridians’, are like rivers flowing through the body to irrigate and nourish the organs and tissues. An obstruction in the movement of this energy is like a dam blocking the energy flow.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points – the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can therefore help the body’s internal organs to correct imbalances in their digestion, absorption and energy production.
The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals will either change the experience of pain, or they will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body’s own internal regulating system.
The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities and in promoting physical and emotional wellbeing.
How is Medical Acupuncture different from traditional acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a very old medical art, and there are many approaches to learning and practicing it. Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in Western medicine who has also had thorough training in acupuncture as a specialty practice. Such a doctor can use one or the other approach, or a combination of both, to treat an illness.
What is the scope of Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture can influence three areas of health:
- promotion of health and well-being,
- prevention of illness,
- treatment of various medical conditions.
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medial treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders.The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including:
- digestive disorders: gastritis and hyperacidity, spastic colon, constipation, diarrhea.
- respiratory disorders: sinusitis, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent chest infections.
- neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis.
- urinary, menstrual, and reproductive problems.
Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension, stress and emotional conditions.