Many people rave about the benefits of acupuncture, but does it actually cure anything? Acupuncture is the practice of pricking skin or tissue with fine needles and it’s usually used as a form of pain relief. However it’s claimed to have a plethora of other benefits.
The first definitive description is from China, dating back over 2000 years ago. At that time it was believed that illness occurred when life, also known as qi, wasn’t properly flowing through the body, or when the two forms of qi, yin and yang, were out of balance. When pricking certain points with needles, blockages were cleared and restored the flow of qi, curing the illness. Acupuncture has been making a comeback since the 1950s as a form of pain relief. It’s now widely used to treat a number of ailments such as the following:
- Chronic Pain
- Menstrual Cramps
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Weight gain
- Chronic asthma
- High blood pressure
But, can one thing so specific really help treat all of these things? The problem with knowing for sure is that acupuncture is very difficult to study scientifically. Numerous medical studies have been conducted in the west using a placebo needle effect and published in medical journals, all summing up to be mostly inconclusive. However, there have also been numerous counts of positive feedback from patients who suffered from chronic pain claiming acupuncture has helped them.
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain
These days, doctors are eager to find a drug-free approach to pain treatment in light of the dangers of opioids — the class of powerful pain medications that includes codeine, morphine, OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. The reported deaths from opioid use and abuse continue to rise. Even though there’s not substantial scientific evidence that actually proves acupunctures affective for pain relief, there is also nothing to indicate it is harmful either. You don’t hear in the news patients dying or being injured from acupuncture. For this reason alone it can be consider an alternative approach to treating pain over prescription drugs.
For millions of people who live with pain, acupuncture is becoming more and more popular. Acupuncture has long been recognized as an effective treatment for chronic pain. In 2012, a study found acupuncture was better than no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture for the treatment of four chronic pain conditions:
- Back and neck pain
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
- Chronic headache
- Shoulder pain
If you really want to avoid chemicals such as opioids, why not give acupuncture a second look when it comes to treating pain?
Acupuncture for Cancer
With the number of cancer cases rising, many patients are turning to alternative medicine for aide harsh side effects from chemo. It is reported to help people who have nausea and vomiting during treatment. Keep in mind chemo and radiation weakens the body’s immune system, so it’s important for your acupuncturist to follow strict clean-needle procedures.
If You’re Considering Acupuncture
Acupuncture is safe if done correctly. So if you’re thinking about getting it, remember these tips:
- Acupuncture could have side effects if you take certain medications, have a pacemaker, are at risk of infection, have chronic skin problems, or are pregnant. Talk to your doctor before you jump in.
- Check your acupuncturist’s credentials. Most states require a license to practice it. You can get a referral from your doctor.
- Don’t rely on a disease diagnosis you may get from an acupuncture practitioner unless they’re also a licensed medical doctor.
- If you get a diagnosis from a doctor, ask him if acupuncture might help.
Doctors learn more about acupuncture each year. But still, no one fully understands how acupuncture works. Does it boost your body’s painkilling ability? Does it affect your blood flow? Can it help your body manage depression to promote further healing? Scientists continue to study — and debate — the issues. But those who practice acupuncture say that’s no reason to stop doing it. Acupuncture has a lot of positive feedback supporting it. Just because we can’t necessarily explain it down to the molecular level doesn’t mean we need to abandon it.
Have more questions? Contact an acupuncture Perth specialist for more info.