How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture has regularly been used in clinical settings to treat all types of conditions such as allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, fertility, menstrual issues and, of course, the most common use of acupuncture is for pain relief. For those who practice or have undergone the use of acupuncture, they will swear blind that it works. However how acupuncture actually works can be considered a grey area. There have been numerous studies and vast amounts of research that are specifically designed to figure out how acupuncture works, but in all honesty there is no clear and simple answer available. There are numerous theories, and these are able to give us an insight into this holistic form of alternative medicine.

Acupuncture can best be described as the stimulation of specific points that are located near to the surface of the skin. These points, when stimulated, have the ability to alter various psychological and indeed biochemical conditions. The original Chinese explanation of how acupuncture works is based around the life energy that flows through the human body. The term that is used in this life energy is known as Qi (this should be pronounced as chee). The points that you will find located along these channels of energy are known as meridians and it is believed that they form a connection between all of our major organs. Chinese medical theory explains to us that certain illnesses arise when the normal flow of Qi in the meridians either becomes blocked or unbalanced.

The acupuncture points can best be described as designated areas of electrical sensitivity. By inserting needles at the specific points you are able to stimulate various sensory receptors, which in turn will stimulate the nerves and transmit impulses directly to the hypothalamic-pituitary system, which is located at the base of the brain. The glands of the hypothalamus-pituitary are actually responsible for releasing endorphins and neurotransmitters which are known as the natural hormones that the body produces to kill pain. It is believed that these endorphins are up to 200 times more powerful and potent than morphine and may also play a huge role in the functioning of your hormonal system. This is the main reason why acupuncture works so well for conditions such as back pain, arthritis, PMS and even for infertility.

The internal chemical substances that are released into the body as a result of acupuncture will help to relax the entire body and also regulate the chemical serotonin in the brain. This is yet another reason why acupuncture is often used to treat depression. Some of the major psychological effects of acupuncture that you may observe within and throughout your body will include reduced inflammation, relief from pain, increase blood circulation, an increase in T-cell count and relief from muscle spasms. All of these factors can actually boost and additionally stimulate the immune system.

The length of any acupuncture treatment will very much depend on the specific case. You have to take into account the severity of the problems within the actual nature of your complaint. Many people have experienced immediate relief from a symptom that they have found disturbing. However this cannot be considered the norm and it is advisable that you should complete a course of acupuncture to rectify the root cause of the problem. It is typically recommended that if you have been experiencing pain or discomfort for a long period of time that a minimum course of six treatments of acupuncture will need to be taken prior to feeling any substantial relief from pain. Many chronic conditions may well require up to 15 treatments of acupuncture, and if you are suffering from a degenerative condition you can expect many treatments over a far longer period of time.

Many people worry that acupuncture may be painful, but in actual fact when performed by a professional the emphasis is mainly on the shallow insertion of needles into the skin and only the need for a minimal amount of manipulation. Therefore you should not experience any discomfort or pain. There are various benefits to acupuncture and these includes that it is a drug-free form of pain relief, it can assist in the prevention against diseases. Acupuncture is mainly used to directly treat the cause as well as the symptoms of any condition and most importantly it uses a holistic approach to illness which will ensure that you link the mind, body and your emotions.

Acupuncture originates from China and is over 5000 years old. It is viewed as a safe and effective natural therapy and is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative form of health care. It is now used by a far wider range of social and cultural backgrounds.

Last updated on Jan 8th, 2011 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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