Q: What is acupuncture?
A: Acupuncture is the placement of thin needles into the body’s surface at specific points to stimulate the body’s qi and promote wellness. Please take a few minutes for more information on the history and practice of acupuncture as a part of Classical Chinese Medical (CCM) practice.
Q: Is acupuncture safe?
A: A 2001 review of nine surveys on acupuncture’s safety found the following:
A: I’ll take a bilingual approach in my response to the question at hand. First, I’ll address the query in what I’ll call “CCM-talk.”
Acupuncture was developed in China 3000 years ago to manage the flow of life force or qi throughout the body. In treatment, an acupuncturist inserts needles at specific points related to a patient’s illness. If for example you are experiencing lower back pain, needles will be inserted at Ah Shi Points, Bl 23, Bl 25, Bl 54, Bl 28, Shi Qi Zhui Xia (M-BW-25), and Hua Tuo Jia Ji points. Where as, sights of insertion are ST8, GB5, GB20, GV14, and LU7 for treating chronic migraines. Needle placement is designed to suite each patient where he or she in experiences imbalance so that blocked qi may flow freely, relieving pain.
For part two of this answer, we’ll converse in the language of modern medicine.
Recent research has revealed the physiologic and biochemical forces at work when acupuncture is applied as a modality for managing pain. Acupuncture stimulates the release of:
- Endorphins from the central nervous system
- Dynorphons from the spinal cord
- ACTH from the adrenal glands
- and acupuncture influences the behavior of substance P (one of the body’s pain-generating messengers)
Q: Is there evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness when applied to pain management?
A: The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference put together a panel of experts to study the effectiveness of acupuncture in 1997. Their findings concluded that acupuncture was an effective treatment for a number of pain management applications including:
- Menstrual cramps
- Myofascial Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In 2001, migraine/tension headaches, chronic neck pain, and soft-tissue injuries of the peripheral joints joined this list when additional studies and reviews supported the use of acupuncture for pain management.
Q: What is acupuncture most commonly applied to for pain management?
A: In China and in the U.S., acupuncture is most frequently used to treat musculoskeletal pain, migraine, and peripheral nerve neuralgia. At Integrative Med Solutions, it is our priority to identify the root cause of any illness before applying treatment. If you feel that acupuncture might aid your pain management program, please contact us for a consultation.
What’s your viewpoint on acupuncture treatment?