Pain Relieving Acupuncture

Using Acupuncture to Relieve Painful Medical Conditions

Many people have medical conditions that cause pain on a chronic basis. These conditions often respond to medications, but sometimes, these drugs may have unpleasant side effects or may not manage the pain completely. Acupuncture, the insertion of fine needles at specific points of the body, may provide additional pain relief without the use of drugs.

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What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing technique that was devised thousands of years ago to treat painful conditions. The practice is based on the theory of "qi," the life force that flows through the body. This energy flows through the body at certain "meridians" or crossing point. When fine needles are inserted at these meridians, it stimulates these critical points and increases the ability of the energy to flow more easily. This energy can be used to relief certain disease conditions and can help to relieve pain.

Why Does Acupuncture Work?

Although science does not support the theory of meridians in the human body, it does confirm that nerve pathways do exist, and it is these neural paths that benefit from stimulation in the practice of acupuncture. Many prestigious medical institutions recognize the value of acupuncture treatment to aid in pain relief and the treatment of a number of medical conditions. However, how acupuncture works is not well understood. Many scientists believe that the insertion of the needles disrupt nerve transmission in the body which helps to reduce pain. Other scientists believe that inserting the fine needles causes the release of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain, which help to reduce the experience of pain. It may be that the release of these chemicals allows the body to healing itself more effectively.

What Happens During Acupuncture Treatment?

The unusual feature of acupuncture is that the needles may be inserted in areas of the body away different than the part that is experiencing discomfort. This is because the "meridian" or nerve pathway leads to that part and can affect that part of the body. Generally, the treatment is done in a quiet room much like a doctor's examining room. The patient lies comfortably on a table and the practitioner inserts the needles into the body at a point that is determined to treat the affected part of the body. The needles are so thin that it only causes a pinching sensation. The needles may remain in place for some time while the person rests. The practitioner may twirl the needles, which also does not cause any appreciable pain. After a time, the practitioner removes the needles, and the patient finds they have reduced pain for some time afterward.

Conditions Acupuncture Can Help

Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment in relief of a wide range of medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, dental pain, headache, depression, allergic rhinitis, menstrual pain, nausea, sciatica, sprains and hypertension. Other conditions may also benefit from acupuncture, such as cancer pain, diabetes, colitis, muscle spasms, osteoarthritis and nerve pain. Further study may find that acupuncture can be used to treat many other conditions.

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