Acupuncture- Acupuncture is an ancient healing therapy. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin, sterile needles are inserted into the skin in certain areas of the body, for pain relief or to affect symptoms. It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine.
The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow through the body that are essential for health.
Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease in traditional chinese medicine. It has been theorized, to correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.
Studies that have been completed, have shown that acupuncture can cause multiple biological responses.
These responses can occur locally, i.e., at or close to the site of insertion or at a distance. This may be leading to an activation of pathways affecting various systems in the brain as well as in other areas.
*********There has been a focus of attention on the role of endogenous (produced or synthesized within the organism or system)- (basically natural) opioids in acupuncture analgesia.
There is considerable evidence that supports the claim that exogenous opioids are released during acupuncture and that the analgesic effects ( pain relief) of acupuncture are at least partially explained by their actions.
That opioid antagonists (a substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another) such as Naloxone (also called Narcan- we use this to reverse drug overdoses) reverse the analgesic effects of acupuncture further strengthens this theory.
Stimulation by acupuncture may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, resulting in a broad spectrum of systemic effects with hormones released.
Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters (used to help transport stimulation between nerves) and neurohormones (a chemical substance secreted into the bloodstream) and changes in the regulation of blood flow, both centrally and peripherally, have been documented. There is also evidence that there are alterations in immune functions produced by acupuncture.
Uses for acupuncture:
- Acupuncture is used to help relieve pain
2. Acupuncture may help other health conditions.Several conditions may benefit acupuncture. For example, there is some evidence that acupuncture may be an effective CAM ( complementary and alternative medicine) therapy for depression, insomnia and digestive issues. It’s also used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and surgery.
Research suggests that acupuncture can help relieve pain, especially in the teeth, jaw, neck, shoulder, low back and knee.
Other painful conditions that may benefit from acupuncture include:
- headaches and migraines
- tennis elbow
- rheumatoid arthritis
The reason why acupuncture reduces pain isn’t yet fully understood, but it’s believed that it increases blood flow, decreases muscle tension, and helps the body produce natural pain killing chemicals.
Acupuncture has few side effects.
Side effects may include minor soreness, bruising and bleeding where the needles are inserted. Because acupuncture has so few side effects, some physicians say there’s no reason not to try it when all else fails.