with many other complementary treatments, acupuncture is a very old
system of healing. It involves stimulation of certain points along well
defined lines of the body, called meridians. The stimulation can be done
with needles, sometimes boosted by the burning of a material called moxa.
traditional acupuncture are:
is perhaps the most widely studied of all complementary treatments. In
the Western variety, the practitioner uses one needle at a time for some
seconds. In the traditional Chinese variety many needles are used at the
same time. These need to be twisted regularly by the practitioner. The
actual procedure doesn't usually hurt, and the needles are fine and
disposable so the risk of infection is minimized.
usually decided after an initial detailed consultation with the
practitioner. You may be examined in a different way from the way in
which your conventional doctor examines you. For example, the
practitioner will feel for six different pulses on your wrist, not just
principle of acupuncture is that energy flows along body meridians, and
the positive and negative energies need to be balanced. These energies
are yin and yang. The needles are used to increase the flow of invisible
energy in order to balance the two.
don't correspond to conventional anatomy, but scientists think that
acupuncture may work by stimulating the body's release of natural
chemicals such as endorphins. These increase the feeling of well-being,
are tough on pain and may have other lesser-known advantages.
may be useful in the treatment of:
small-scale trials have shown that acupuncture may improve some of the
symptoms of the menopause, such as hot flushes, and it has also been
used to help smokers quit the weed.
practitioners believe that most medical conditions may respond to
acupuncture. This is because they believe that most conditions are
caused by energy imbalance. Acupuncture
treatment should show results within six sessions and, as is usual with
some complementary treatments, the symptoms may initially get slightly
worse before they improve.
conventional doctors practice acupuncture at their premises. Ask at your
local medical centre for addresses of practitioners.
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