Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting fine needles or applying heat at specific acupuncture points. Acupuncture has been used in China for over 3,000 years for both medical treatment and general health improvement. Today acupuncture is used in virtually all countries as a proven therapeutic technique. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, over 3.1 million U.S. adults and 150,000 children reported using acupuncture in the previous year. Between the 2002 and 2007 NHIS, acupuncture use among adults increased by approximately 1 million people.
How Does Acupuncture 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 tissues. An obstruction to the movement in these meridians dams up the energy on one side, while cutting off the supply downstream. The meridians can be influenced by acupuncture needles applied at certain points. The acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions and reestablish the regular flow of energy.
The meridians can be influenced by needling the acupuncture points; the acupuncture needles unblock the obstructions at the dams and reestablish the regular flow through the meridians. Acupuncture treatments can, therefore, help the body's internal organs to correct imbalances in digestion, absorption, energy production activities, and in the circulation of their energy through the meridians.
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.
Acupuncture improves energy and biochemical balance in the body, which ultimately results in the stimulation of natural healing abilities and the promotion of physical and emotional well-being.
Is Acupuncture Effective?
Acupuncture is often effective in alleviating symptoms and treating chronic conditions such as back pain, migraines, allergies, stress, depression and others. People who receive acupuncture regularly report increased energy levels, fewer signs of sickness, faster recovery from illness, a better understanding and appreciation of their own body, overall increased control of their health, and reduced long-term health care costs.
The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. National Cancer Institute together report acupuncture as an effective treatment option for more than 40 specific conditions. The National Cancer Institute further reports, “the effect of acupuncture on the immune system of cancer patients showed that it improved immune system response.”
Conditions That Can be Treated by Acupuncture
Millions of people have found acupuncture to be a better solution than drugs or surgery. With a 3,000-year history, acupuncture successfully addresses many ailments and manages pain with no drugs or side affects. The World Health Organization has issued a comprehensive list of diseases and conditions for which acupuncture has demonstrated therapeutic effect.
- Acupuncture is a safe, painless alternative for treating the following:
- - Arthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, neck pain.
- - Asthma, allergies and other respiratory symptoms.
- - Gastrointestinal/Digestive issues.
- - Gynecological issues such as infertility, PMS, irregular and/or painful menses.
- - Depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress.
- - Prenatal and post natal care.
- - Addictions: food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc.
- - And many, many more physical, emotional and neurological issues.