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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment in which special needles are inserted into points just under the skin to help correct and rebalance the flow of energy, which promotes pain relief and healing. Acupuncture is based on the belief that health is determined by maintaining a balanced flow of qi, also referred to as chi, the vital life energy present in all living organisms. Qi circulates along 12 major energy pathways in the body, called meridians. Each is linked to specific organs and systems in the body. Within the meridian system there are over one thousand acupoints, which are specific anatomical locations on the skin that can be stimulated to control the flow of qi. The word Acupuncture comes from the Latin acus, for “Needle”, and punctura, “To puncture”. This ancient Chinese therapy has been continuously refined over its 4,500 year history. Legend has it that Acupuncture found its beginning in the experience of an ancient soldier who, when struck by an arrow during battle, noted sensations of numbness far removed from the site of the wound.

Why do we use Acupuncture?

Millions of people have used Acupuncture for a variety of health conditions. Many scientific studies have confirmed its effectiveness. Other stimulation techniques including pressure, heat, lasers, and moxibustion (the burning of an herb at or near certain sites on the body) are also used, but have not been the subject of many research studies. The World Health Organization lists more than 40 conditions for which Acupuncture may be indicated. These include prevention and treatment of nausea, pain relief, treatment of addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, treatment of lung (pulmonary) problems such as asthma, and rehabilitation from damage to the nervous system such as that caused by a stroke.

Does it really help to relieve pain?

Acupuncture has been used successfully in the treatment of pain following surgery, and in painful conditions of the muscles and skeleton. These include low back pain, tennis elbow and a chronic inflammation of a muscle (fibromyositis). Studies have shown that Acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s natural pain–killing chemicals, called endorphins, which are very effective in blocking pain.

Where is it likely to be most effective?

Several studies have demonstrated that nausea caused by pregnancy, surgical anesthesia, or chemotherapy treatment for cancer, is very responsive to Acupuncture.

Addictions and AIDS

When Acupuncture was used as part of a treatment program for substance abuse, recipients had reduced cravings and improved psychological conditions. Symptoms of withdrawal were less severe. In the treatment of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Acupuncture used with Chinese herbs has been helpful in improving the functioning of the patient’s immune system, and has reduced the severity of digestive problems, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Other uses

Acupuncturists also cite success in treating a range of health problems including both acute and chronic illnesses. Acupuncture treatment for sudden injuries, such as sprained ankles or other muscle, ligament, or tendon misalignments, is said to be most effective when treatment is received before “Sleeping on it”. Acupuncture is thought to restore the body to its original form or “Memory” for these and chronic illnesses.