Acupuncture - pain Control
Edited by Kristin McHenry
What is acupuncture
Acupuncture is a complete medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, manage chronic disorders, alleviate pain, and promote health through prevention and maintenance. It can be used for physical, emotional, and psychological disorders.
Where did it come from
Acupuncture is rooted in ancient China. It is mentioned in the Haung-ti Nei-Ching, which is one of the oldest Chinese medical books still in existence. It is used today as one of the main reference books for acupuncture.
What is the theory behind acupuncture
Chinese Acupuncture theory believes that there are twelve main energy channels running through the body which relate to the internal organs: lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, triple warmer, gall bladder, liver, and gate of life. These twelve energy channels run all over the body from head to toe. There are 461 specific acupuncture sites located on these channels. By inserting a needle into an acupuncture site, qi (energy which keeps a person healthy) will be altered. Manipulating the needle can build energy qi if there is a deficiency of energy, or drain qi if there is an abundance of energy. It is through the balancing of energy that a person's health can be restored.
Can acupuncture control pain
Acupuncture has been proven to help treat pain, both chronic and acute. The medical journal pain has reviewed a number of studies that provide evidence in the importance of acupuncture in pain control. One study told of 204 patients suffering from chronic painful conditions, resulted in 74% experienced significant pain relief over three months after acupuncture treatment. Other studies show that younger patients are particularly helped by acupuncture.
How does acupuncture control pain
Acupuncture (specifically the needle manipulation) appears to stimulate the release of endorphins and enkephalins, which are chemicals that the body naturally makes for pain relief. According to David Eisenberg, M.D., a Clinical Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, there is also evidence that acupuncture influences the production and distribution of many neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Neurotransmitters transmit nerve impulses to the brain, and neuromodulators are produced by the neurons that affect the neurotransmitters. In turn, these actions alter the perception of pain to the brain and the body.
What is an acupuncture treatment like
A Doctor who has studied Chinese medicine or holistic health practices can do acupuncture treatments. The doctor should have graduated from some type of Chinese school of medicine. Upon entering the office, the patient will fill out a medical history questionnaire, and will then speak individually to the acupuncturist. The acupuncturist will study the patient will study the patient, taking into account aspects of health that may be different than Western medicine (ex-twelve radial pulses from the wrist). Specific needles are then placed in the appropriate sites. Acupuncture calls for no more thant 10 to 12 needles per each treatment. Acupuncture itself is essentially painless, the duration of the treatments will vary for individuals. The acupuncturist may also recommend changes in diet, lifestyle, and physical activity.
Just as Acupuncture is an accepted form of medicine in the East, it is becoming more and more accepted in the West. The West is becoming more accustomed to alternative medicine, and, in turn, acupuncture is in higher demand than ever before been in this part of the world. The West is learning to incorporate this type of medicine within its traditional form and will continue to study this form of care.
References and Direct Citations:
Burroughs, Hugh and Mark Kastner. Alternative Healing. California: Halcyon publishing, 1993.
Kaptchuk, Ted J. and Hugh Macpherson. Acupuncture In practice: Case History Insights for the West. NewYork: Churchill Livingstone, 1997.
The Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Washington: Medicine publishing, 1995.