Monday, November 3, 2014

Acupuncture: Ancient Needle Work as Pain Relief Treatment

The sight of piercing needles through the skin in specific areas of the body may appear to be painful, but acupuncture is actually an ancient form of pain relief treatment that improves the flow of energy throughout the body. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is still being practiced until now.  The National Institutes of Health has sponsored several studies on the effects of acupuncture as pain relief treatment for conditions such as arthritis and other ailments that produce chronic pain.  While western scientists suspect that acupuncture may stimulate the release of chemicals to soothe pain or prompt the body's natural healing abilities, the patient's faith or belief in acupuncture is a big factor in the procedure's success.



According to Dr. Hayes Wilson, chief rheumatologist at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and national medical adviser to the Arthritis Foundation, says that acupuncture can work for anybody. However, he said that,“...it's going to work for the people who believe in it.” Many pain relief treatments are effective because of the patient's belief in them. People who don't believe that they're going to get better are less likely to get through.

Since the procedure involves risks inherent in needle use, however, there are some conditions where acupuncture is not recommended, such as those with bleeding disorders as well as people who are taking blood-thinning medications. There is also a high risk of spreading infectious disease, accidental piercing of organs, minor bleeding and broken or forgotten needles.

According to Dennis Turk, professor of anesthesiology and pain research at the University of Washington School of Medicine, people make sense out of noxious sensations and determine how bothersome they really are with the help of the brain. Several factors can affect how people perceive sensations, what they decide to do about them, and how they interact with respect to their environment.

One psychological factor that can intensify pain perception is stress. Muscles tend to become tense and may affect tissues that are already tender. Emotionally, the pressure may amplify pain perception. People who are distressed may interpret situations to be more difficult and may lead them to avoid certain types of activities because they are afraid that it will make their pain become worse.

A change in the source of stress can help alleviate the pressure. In the case of a frequent nagging from your spouse, try to find a way to sit down and discuss the problem with open communication. If changing the source of tension is not possible, consider wholesome and positive distraction such as watching a movie, listening to music, or spending time with friends. Pleasurable activities can shift the focus away from the pain temporarily.

Relaxation is another pain relief treatment. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, massage, Tai Chi, and visualization have been proven to be effective pain relief treatment.
Joining support groups or getting individual counseling also help in coping with stress or ailment. However, while there is enough evidence to prove that people who join support groups experience dramatic improvements in their physical and emotional well-being, nevertheless, people who are not open in discussing about their problems may not benefit from this type of stress-management strategy.  Different techniques apply for different people.

Acupuncture: A benefit to the well Individual?


Before we begin a discussion about the benefits of acupuncture, let’s talk about the origins of acupuncture.  It was first used in China over 2000 years ago, and is one of the oldest medical procedures in the world.  It is a family of procedures that stimulates the anatomy of the body and helps to b


Before we begin a discussion about the benefits of acupuncture, let’s talk about the origins of acupuncture.  It was first used in China over 2000 years ago, and is one of the oldest medical procedures in the world.  It is a family of procedures that stimulates the anatomy of the body and helps to balance the energy flow throughout the body.  It is this kind of acupuncture that is practiced in the United Sates today, through the use of tiny, metallic needles placed in affected areas and manipulated by hand or by electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture is the basic foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine and is based on the belief that there are two opposing and inseparable forces within our body.  They are known as the Yin and Yang of the entire person. The Yin is representative of the cold, slow, or passive principle, and yang represents the hot, excited or active principle.  A healthy state is achieved by maintaining a balance state of the yin and yang.  This is done through vital pathways or meridians that allow for the flow of qi, or vital energy.  The vital energy flow occurs along pathways known as meridians. These meridians connect over 2,000 acupuncture points along the body.  There are 12 main meridians, and 8 secondary meridians.  Although traditional western medicine does not completely understand how acupuncture works, the proof that it does work has been shown in several studies conducted by western medical facilities.

Now, let’s move to the question of does it work?  According to the National Institute of Health, the answer would be yes.  Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in many areas of health care.  Areas such as postoperative nausea, chemotherapy side effects, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, headache, menstrual cramps, addiction, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, just to name a few.  The study revealed that acupuncture was able to provide pain relief, improve function and mobility of joints due to arthritis inflammation, and served to complement standard care.

Although there are many who would doubt the effectiveness of acupuncture, once they are a patient, they are believers.  It has been proposed that acupuncture works and produces its effects through regulating the nervous system.  The theory proposes that since acupuncture produces its effect through regulation of the nervous system, it induces the release of endorphins and immune system cells at specific sites on the body. There is also the theory that acupuncture alters the brain chemistry by the changing the neurotransmitters in the brain.


Without doubt acupuncture was a benefit in the study, and as a patient myself, I can vouch for the wonderful effect it has had on my back.  Although acupuncture is classified as an alternative medicine therapy, and there is still much to be understood about the way it works, it is a proven aid in maintaining optimal health.

But what about the well individual, can acupuncture provide a benefit to them?  Absolutely.  Because acupuncture works off the belief that we must maintain balance of our vital energy flow in order to remain healthy, acupuncture serves as the tool for realignment.  Our vital energy flow can be out of balance, and we still feel and appear quite healthy.  It is in this capacity that acupuncture serves as a sort of preventive medicine.  Checking and balancing the flow of energy on the meridian points in your body is like your car receiving a tune-up before it is in need of a repair.


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