What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine involving the insertion of solid filiform acupuncture needles into the skin at specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. No drug is injected. The needles alone create the beneficial effects of acupuncture.Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve mood and energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. It is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medications or even surgery. Relief is often obtained with acupuncture when traditional medical therapy has failed.
Forms of acupuncture
There are various forms of acupuncture. Apart from insertion of needles (needling) and moxibustion, other types include electric acupuncture where electric probes are used, laser acupuncture where laser beams are used, microsystem acupuncture such as ear, face, hand and scalp acupuncture.
Mechanism of action of acupuncture
The tradition of acupuncture theory believes that energy flows within the human body and this energy can be channelized to create balance and health. This energy flow is called qi and pronounced “chee”.
Acupuncture theory believes that this qi moves throughout the body along 12 main channels known as meridians. These meridians represent the major organs and functions of the body. These meridians however do not follow the exact pathways of nerves or blood flow.
Acupuncture aims to correct imbalances of the qi and restore health through stimulation. The needles are inserted through the skin at points along the meridians of the body.
Scientists have long explored the cause behind efficacy of acupuncture. Some researchers suggest that pain relief from acupuncture occurs when acupuncture needles stimulate nerves. In addition acupuncture may also release pain-relieving chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin to ease symptoms. Acupuncture may also decrease pain-causing inflammation by stimulating the pituitary gland to release cortisol.
Another form of therapy is acupressure or application of pressure at selected sites for specific disorders.
Procedure of acupuncture
Acupuncture involves insertion of dry needles into the skin at specific locations called acupuncture points. Acupuncture is performed by certified practitioners and physicians to treat certain medical disorders.
There are up to 400 different acupuncture points which are specific for different diseases and disorders. Acupuncture has been seen to be effective in over 40 diseases and disorders.