What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture was first discussed in the ancient Chinese medical text "Huang Di Nei Jing" (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), originating more than 2000 years ago.
The intent of acupuncture therapy is to promote health and alleviate pain and suffering. The method by which this is accomplished, though it may seem strange and mysterious to many, has been time tested over thousands of years and continues to be validated today. Today in China and many of other Asian counties, acupuncture remains an integral part of the health care system, offered in conjunction with medicine. There are also the records of acupuncture being used hundreds of years ago in Europe, it was during the second half of the twentieth century it began to spread rapidly in Western Europe, the United States and Canada.
Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting and manipulating needles into various points on the body to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes
The perspective from which an acupuncturist views health and sickness hinges on concepts of "vital energy," "energetic balance" and "energetic imbalance." Just as the Western medical doctor monitors the blood flowing through blood vessels and the messages traveling via the nervous system, the acupuncturist assesses the flow and distribution of this "vital energy" within its pathways, known as "meridians and channels".
The acupuncturist is able to influence health and sickness by stimulating certain areas along these "meridians". Today, many additional forms of stimulation are incorporated, including herbs, electricity, magnets and lasers. Still, the aim remains the same - adjust the "vital energy" so the proper amount reaches the proper place. This helps your body heal itself.
Indications according to acupuncturists in the West
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (2004) states: "In the United States, acupuncture has its greatest success and acceptance in the treatment of muscular & skeletal pain.". They say that acupuncture may be considered as a complementary therapy for the conditions in the list below, noting: "Most of these indications are supported by textbooks or at least 1 journal article. However, definitive conclusions based on research findings are rare because the state of acupuncture research is poor but improving."
Acute and chronic pain control
Anesthesia for high-risk patients or patients with previous adverse responses to anesthetics
Anxiety, fright, panic
Atypical chest pain (negative workup)
Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome
Certain functional gastrointestinal disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel) *
Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes
Cough with contraindications for narcotics
Drug detoxification is suggested but evidence is poor
Dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain
Headache (migraine and tension-type), vertigo (Meniere disease), tinnitus
Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachycardia
In fractures, assisting in pain control, edema, and enhancing healing process
Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures
Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, postherpetic pain, other)
Post-traumatic and post-operative ileus
Selected dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
Sequelae of stroke syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia)
Seventh nerve palsy
Sprains and contusions
Temporo-mandibular joint derangement, bruxism
Urinary incontinence, retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect)