How does Acupuncture work?
Acupuncture has been shown in clinical trials to raise levels of specific hormones, prostaglandins, white blood cells, gamma-globulins and anti-bodies generally. It influences the release of neurotransmitters, substances that transmit nerve impulses to the brain, and releases endorphins, our natural pain killers and “Feel Good” chemicals. Other theories involve the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system as well as influencing the electrical currents of the body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes the body and mind are to be kept in a fine balance of Yin and Yang to resist disease, and one of the ways is to keep Qi (Chi) flowing smoothly throughout the body.
Qi flows through energy channels called meridians, on which acupuncture points are located. Factors such as injury, emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection and disease interrupt this smooth flow of Qi. By inserting fine needles on specific points along meridians, the acupuncturist aims to restore the free flow of Qi and trigger your body’s natural healing response.
What Does Acupuncture Treat?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a long list of conditions for which Traditional Chinese Medicine such as Acupuncture is of benefit.
This includes: asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, migraine and headaches, hayfever, indigestion, constipation, IBS, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, back/neck and shoulder/knee pain, strains and sprains and other soft tissue injuries, PMT, irregular or painful periods, menopause, fluid retention, skin disorders, neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, insomnia, and following cardiovascular accidents such as a stroke. In addition, acupuncture is used for addictions to smoking, alcohol, drugs, and other substances. Acupuncture is especially good for pain relief, from musculoskeletal pain, plantar fasciitis to trigeminal neuralgia and shingles.
NICE recommended uses
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides guidelines to the NHS on use of treatments and care of patients. Currently, NICE recommends that acupuncture is considered as a treatment option for:
More research is happening to validate acupuncture to the scientific community. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for research updates. In the meantime, it continues to be a successful complementary treatment to conventional medicine. The NHS Choices website states that recent scientific trials conducted to investigate the effect of acupuncture found that acupuncture had a beneficial effect on these conditions:
- chronic back pain
- dental pain
- pain and discomfort during gastrointestinal endoscopy
- nausea and vomiting after an operation
- pain and discomfort during oocyte retrieval (a procedure used during IVF)
- osteoarthritis of the knee
Is all acupuncture the same?
No, it isn’t. There are various systems of it and varying training times. Traditional Chinese and Oriental acupuncture are complex systems and take a few years, typically 3 to 4, to learn and master. Western acupuncture or dry needling is a trigger point system which can be learnt in less than a week and is usually practised by medical doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and sports masseurs for pain management.
At St. Johns Community Acupuncture we are TCM trained practitioners so we can offer you treatment options for pain management as well as for a wider range of symptoms.