Acupuncture for pain is widely used as a traditional practice in Chinese Medicine. In the West, this practice is used as an addition or alternative to conventional treatments. Medical practitioners will recommend acupuncture to patients suffering from chronic ailments like pain as an addition to their usual treatment. Dr. Adrian White, a leading medical acupuncturist, believes that prejudice surrounding acupuncture is preventing it from being taken seriously from both the healthcare community and the wider public. He states that acupuncture has a scientific basis that shouldn’t be ignored.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China and is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Since its origins, acupuncture has spread across the globe. Tradition explains its mechanisms of action through its philosophy of the absence of the body-soul distinction, and that illness is caused by the abnormal flow of qi or life force through the body’s meridian points. Very thin needles are inserted into these meridian points to bring balance to the flow of qi. A Western adaptation of acupuncture that uses current knowledge of the human body, but does not include the traditional philosophy of acupuncture, is called Western medical acupuncture. Many studies tried to explain the mechanisms of action in acupuncture and its efficiency in the treatment of disease.
Research on Acupuncture
There have been many studies carried out on acupuncture’s effects since the 1950s. Most studies showed a positive relationship between acupuncture in the treatment of conditions like arthritis and mental disturbances, but we still have trouble understanding how acupuncture works. One recent study found a significant decrease in pain, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, and insomnia after providing 45 cancer patients from the Oncology Department of Numune Hospital with an acupuncture treatment. This study suggests that acupuncture is great for relieving the side effects of chemotherapy. Another study found that acupuncture helped relieve hot flashes in women with breast cancer.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture is mostly used for the treatment of chronic pain. Studies on animal modes found that lower frequency acupuncture stimulated the release of endorphins, serotonin, and opioids, all chemicals that are responsible for the pleasure and pain-relief. Acupuncture was also found to stimulate the inflammatory reflex via stimulation of the central nervous system. This makes acupuncture good for both relieving pain and reducing inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture’s effects on the release of serotonin through the stimulation of the central nervous system might also explain why acupuncture was beneficial for the treatment of PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder.
Acupuncture is a fairly safe way to treat pain and discomfort associated with a wide range of diseases, from migraines to cancer. Clinical studies have found that acupuncture helped many patients find relief. The ancient practice of sticking needles into sensitive points in the body also has its place in Western medicine as an addition to conventional treatments. Acupuncture is believed to work by stimulating the central nervous system to release a range of beneficial chemicals. But Chinese philosophy considers acupuncture to be more than that. Acupuncture was traditionally used to bringing balance to body, mind, and soul.