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Acupuncture: A serviceable alternative to medication?

Accupuncture-therapy-alternative-medicine-treatmentsDepending on the severity of the pain a patient is experiencing, there are many types of pain medication available. They range from over-the-counter options such as acetaminophen to prescribed narcotic medications such as opioids. These medication have been known to successfully treat pain but there are many alternative therapies that can be explored, among them is acupuncture therapy.

Acupuncture therapy is a traditional Chinese treatment which has been known to treat a wide variety of conditions. Although there is no significant evidence or medical acceptance of this treatment many people claim it has the ability to effectively treat pain [1].

The premise of this therapy is to stimulate specific anatomic points of the body with very fine sterile needles. These points are called acupoints. In traditional Chinese medicine, these points were dependent on a variety of factors. It was believed that stimulating certain points with a certain technique could diagnose and treat the condition in question. The following points explain the core philosophies which lead to the above stated conclusions:

  • There are opposite forces in the universe and the body which need to be in balance in order for the body to be considered healthy
  • Energy in the body flows in certain pathways
  • If the flow of energy in the body is disrupted it is most likely causing pain in that specific area. Analysts describe it as the flow of water being blocked by a dam
  • Energy flow needs to be constant in order to reduce pain

With these core ideologies, traditional Chinese medicine specialists have been able to cure many people experiencing severe pain. Also, modern research has found associations with acupuncture therapy and cardiovascular, immune, endocrine and digestive symptoms, however there is no evidence of its etiological importance [2].

[1] How acupuncture can relieve pain and improve sleep, digestion and emotional well-being. UC San Diego: Center for Integrative Medicine. Retrieved from: http://cim.ucsd.edu/clinical-care/acupuncture.shtml

[2] Acupuncture. Medicine Net. Retrieved from: http://www.medicinenet.com/acupuncture/article.htm

Image retrieved from Lars Plougmann

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