Acupuncture is a type of treatment in which very thin needles are inserted into the skin to various depths at specific points on their body. Some research claims that it may help to relieve muscle pain and it is also used for a variety of other issues. However, there is a limited amount of evidence for its benefits in treating complaints other than pain.
It is also not clear how acupuncture scientifically works. Many people suggest that it works by creating a balance of vital energies in the body, while others claim that it affects the body neurologically. It continues to be controversial among western scientists and medical professionals.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of treatment carried out by an acupuncturist. The acupuncturist inserts very thin needles into the skin at various points of the person’s body in an attempt to balance energy. It is suggested that this can increase a person’s well-being and help to cure certain illnesses.
It is claimed that acupuncture can help with health conditions such as headaches, coughs, and blood pressure issues.
How does acupuncture work?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, a person’s health and well-being are intimately connected to the harmony and balance of the “yin” and the “yang” which are known as complementary extremes of the force “qi.” Illness and health issues are suggested to be the result of an imbalance of these forces.
Qi is claimed to flow through the body’s pathways or meridians. The flow of this energy is accessible through acupuncture at three hundred and fifty points in the human body. The insertion of needles at these points with the right combinations is thought to bring a balance back into the flow of this energy.
However, there is no scientific evidence that the acupuncture points or meridian energy flows exist. It is also difficult to scientifically prove whether they exist or not. However, many studies point to the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating certain conditions.
Several experts have claimed that neuroscience can explain acupuncture. Acupuncture points are regarded as points where the connective tissues, nerves, and muscles can be stimulated. This stimulation serves to increase the flow of the blood while triggering the body’s natural pain killers into action.
It is highly difficult to study this activity scientifically under proper scientific controls due to the invasiveness of acupuncture. To complete a scientific study, a control group would need to undergo a fake or placebo treatment for the results to be properly examined.
Many studies have claimed that acupuncture treatments produce the same effects as a placebo, but others have pointed to real benefits.
Studies in Germany have pointed to acupuncture as an effective treatment for relieving migraine and tension headaches. The NCCIH has also suggested that it may help to treat lower back and neck pain, knee pain, and osteoarthritis. They also list a range of further disorders that may be treatable by acupuncture, however, this list lacks proper scientific confirmation.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2003, a list of conditions where acupuncture has been proven to be effective, including blood pressure issues, chemotherapy side effects, gastric problems, dysentery, facial pain, painful periods, allergic rhinitis, morning sickness, sprains, tennis elbow, inducing labor, dental pain, sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis and in reducing the risk of stroke.
More evidence is required to confirm the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating fibromyalgia, spinal pain, whooping coughs, substance dependence, neuralgia, urinary tract infections, and Tourette syndrome.
It is important to speak to a medical professional to discuss the potential benefits and risks of acupuncture.