Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture Treatment

In common 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.

Variations of traditional acupuncture are:

  • electro-acupuncture using electrical needle stimulators

  • laser acupuncture

  • ear acupuncture

Acupuncture 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.

Treatment is 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 one.

The basic 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.

The meridians 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.

Acupuncture may be useful in the treatment of:

  • arthritis

  • muscle pain

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • high blood pressure

  • certain skin conditions

In addition, 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.

Acupuncture 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.

Many conventional doctors practice acupuncture at their premises. Ask at your local medical centre for addresses of practitioners.

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