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Acupuncture Explained: How It Works, Benefits And Uses



As you probably know, acupuncture is a form of treatment which involves inserting thin needles through a person’s skin at specific points of the body and to various depths. According to research, it is one of the forms of therapies that can help relieve pain – and one that is used for a wide range of other complaints as well.


Even though the scientific side of the story behind acupuncture still remains unclear, many people believe that it is a technique which balanced vital energy – and others believe that it has a massive neurological effect.


So, what is acupuncture and how does it work?

Basically, acupuncture involves the process of inserting needles into a person’s body with the aim of balancing their energy. This can help boost well-being as well as potentially cure some illnesses. The conditions it is used for include different kinds of pain – from headaches to blood pressure problems as well as simple disorders such as whooping cough etc.


Acupuncture is also a form of traditional Chinese medicine, dating back to centuries ago where people used it in line with the harmonious balance based on the “yin” and “yang” principles of the life force known as “qi”.


As the science itself promotes, there are 350 acupuncture points in the body – and inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations is how the technique establishes proper balance, curing various disorders.


The link between neuroscience and acupuncture

Many experts believe that there is a link between neuroscience when explaining acupuncture. Basically, the acupuncture points are places where nerves, muscles and connective tissue can be stimulated. If these are stimulated, there is an increase of blood flow but also triggering the activity of the body’s natural painkillers.

As a millennium-old practice which originated in China, acupuncture helps in relieving pain and promotes healing by stimulating the body’s various systems. For example, the body’s own morphine-like chemicals known as endorphins are released when needles penetrate the skin. On top of this, there is another chemical involved in pain control (adenosine) which is also released in the skin during acupuncture.


Common uses of acupuncture

According to one research which was carried out in Germany, acupuncture was found to relieve tension headaches and migraines. On top of this, the NCCIH notes that this form of therapy has also been proven to help in the following cases:

  • Low back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Knee pain

  • Headaches

  • Migraine


There are many additional disorders that may be treated with acupuncture – but ones which require further scientific confirmation. For example, there has been a study by the World Health Organization (WHO) which listed that acupuncture has been proven effective in the following conditions too:

  • high and low blood pressure

  • chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

  • some gastric conditions, including peptic ulcer

  • painful periods

  • dysentery

  • allergic rhinitis

  • facial pain

  • morning sickness

  • rheumatoid arthritis

  • sprains

  • tennis elbow

  • sciatica

  • dental pain

  • reducing the risk of stroke

  • inducing labor


The WHO also pointed that acupuncture may help in the following conditions (but there must be more evidence for this). These include:

  • fibromyalgia

  • neuralgia

  • postoperative

  • convalescence substance

  • tobacco/alcohol dependence

  • spine pain

  • stiff neck

  • vascular dementia

  • whooping cough, or pertussis

  • Tourette syndrome


The benefits of acupuncture

Acupuncture has been found to be beneficial if performed correctly. The entire technique is also safe and there are only six important side effects which may include fatigue, soreness, bruising, muscle twitching, light-headedness and emotional releases.


On top of this, acupuncture can be effectively combined with other treatments as well – and is able to control some types of pain too. For many, it has been a technique that helped them when pain medications were not useful – or suitable to their needs.


Sometimes, the needles which are used in the process are heated or stimulated with electricity after their insertion – and on average – they stay in place for between 5 and 30 minutes. The number of treatments with this technique vary depending on the needs of an individual. For example, a person with a chronic condition may need one to two treatments – while an acute problem can normally improve after 8 to 12 sessions accordingly.


A final word

In the end, it is safe to say that acupuncture is a treatment which is grounded in science – and not just myth and magic. All in all, it is a safe and effective treatment for pain, sleep as well as stress, among the other ailments.


At Physical Therapy One, we pride ourselves on our knowledge in acupuncture.

If you are interested in seeing the benefits of this technique, don’t hesitate to book an appointment!

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