What is Acupuncture?

To ease pain, you do not necessarily have to rely solely on pain pills and steroids, there are a few alternative treatments that may help you find relief; one of the most widely recognized and oldest method is acupuncture.

History and Methodology

Sixteenth century Asian doctors believed that illness was due to an imbalance of energy ("chi" or "qi") in the body. Taking this philosophy, acupuncture aims to stimulate the body's 14 major meridians, or energy-carrying channels, to resist or overcome illnesses and conditions by correcting these imbalances.

Acupuncture is thought to decrease pain by increasing the release of the body's natural chemicals that block pain. Hundreds of acu-points are near nerves, and the stimulation of these points with thin, disposable, stainless steel needles cause a dull ache or feeling of fullness in the muscle. When stimulated, the muscle sends a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (morphine-like chemicals produced in our own bodies during times of pain or stress - i.e. natural painkillers). Endorphins, along with other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), block the message of pain from being delivered up to the brain. And so, with acupunture, channeling of the chemicals decreases pain and brings back balance within the body. 

The stimulation of such spots and chemicals also increase blood flow and circulation. 

So, It's All Natural?

Yes, it;s all natural.  Acupunture is a key element of chinese herbal medicine - centuries' old (around 2,500 years) medicinal practice based on the balancing of body's key elements.  Acupunture aims to bring the body back to its normal state. Unlike conventional "western", medicine, there is no injection of any kind, nor tears 

What Conditions Are Treated With Acupuncture? How effective is it?

Although acupuncture is not a "cure-all" treatment, it is very effective in treating several diseases and conditions. Acupuncture is most effective at treating chronic pain, such as headaches; menstrual cramps; and low back, neck, or muscle pain. It can also be used to treat arthritis, facial pain, pain from shingles, and spastic colon and colitis conditions. Acupuncture has also been successful in treating obesity and addictions such as nicotine or drugs. Acupuncture also can improve the functioning of the immune system (the body's defense system against diseases).

Case by case, the effectiveness of a treatment will differ -- some patients may respond extremely well to acupuncture while others may not see results as quickly.  This is because acupuncture works with the body.  It relies on the body's energy and inner ability to work.  So, a weaker body will not feel optimal results.  

As a whole, acupunture is gaining not only popularity, but recognition by conventional, "western" doctors -- there are many case studies of patients that turned to and healed from acupuncture, after a failure to be treated by conventional medicine.  Today, some hospitals have acupunturists on staff, who take their kits into cancer and orthopedic departments.   In addition, the World Health Organization currently recognizes more than 40 medical problems, ranging from allergies to AIDS, which can be helped by acupuncture treatment. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices.