What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been practiced widely in Asia for more than 2,000 years and is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Based on TCM, the Qi (vital energy) of all organs must be in balance for optimal health. Acupuncture is the main treatment that is used to assist the process of regulating Qi and promoting the body’s innate healing mechanisms.
How does acupuncture work?
Current research is underway to explain acupuncture using scientific language. The following are a few mechanisms that have been proposed:
- Gate control theory of pain: acupuncture may activate peripheral nerves to block pain signals.
- Endorphin model: acupuncture may assist in production of endorphins in cerebrospinal fluid and up-regulation of opioid receptor binding availability.
- Neurotransmitter model: acupuncture may modulate serotonin, norepinephrine, and neurons that transmit/secrete GABA.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Modern acupuncture needles are made of surgical grade stainless steel. Needles are coated to slide smoothly into the skin and are discarded after each use.
Acupuncture has been shown to have no serious side effects when used correctly. Studies have shown that acupuncture is a safe form of treatment that has comparative safety profile to other drug therapies, such as the use of Tylenol for pain.
What is acupuncture best for?
There are various conditions that acupuncture has been shown to be effective for. The following are some of the highlights of its use:
- Chronic pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- PMS/menstrual cramps