Acupuncture Preferred Treatment for Chronic Pain
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17 June 2010
By Risha Chitlangia
New Delhi, India
Till a few years ago, there weren’t many takers for a form of healing in which fine needles were pierced in the patient’s body to cure pain. But today, practitioners of acupuncture in the city say they are flooded with patients suffering from pain in the back and joints.
“Due to changing lifestyles and long work hours, back pain is very common, even among young people. We also get a lot of patients suffering from arthritis,” said Dr Raman Kapur, senior acupuncture specialist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, who recently treated 70–year–old Lata Goyal for her arthritis problem.
Lata was advised knee–replacement, but at her age it was a risky proposition and her family was not prepared to take a risk. The excruciating pain made life very difficult for Lata as she couldn’t even stand. “I was not prepared for a surgery. So I decided to give acupuncture a try. And it worked. I can now walk and have no pain in my knees,” said Lata.
Explaining the science behind the 4000–year–old Chinese form of healing, Dr Kapur said, “It is all about balancing the energy flow in the body. There are two main types of energy: Yin and Yan. The former regulates the blood and body fluids while the latter is responsible for body functions. Any disturbance in the energy flow results in medical problems.”
Acupuncture experts say that by stimulating the pressure points they correct the flow of energy. “Yin is negative energy while Yan is positive. They have to be in equilibrium. In cases of chronic pain, we stimulate the pressure points to facilitate the release of endorphins – which are natural pain relievers – in the brain. Patients of back and joint pain often feel better in two–three sittings,” said Dr Ravi Tuli, holistic physician, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Though allopathy doesn’t support these claims, a recent study reported in Nature Neurosciences states that acupuncture helps in the release of adenosine – an anti–inflammatory and painkilling chemical. Scientists at University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York performed acupuncture on mice with sore paws to pinpoint how the ancient Chinese practice might alleviate pain in humans. According to the study, the needles stimulated cells to produce adenosine that was effective for up to an hour after the therapy.
“There are 365 pressure points in our body and each governs some body function. We have seen excellent results in patients of depression and other psychiatric disorders,” said Dr OP Chhabra, acupuncture specialist