Acupuncture Medicine

Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the use of sharp, thin needles that are inserted in the body at specific points. This process is believed to adjust and alter the body’s energy flow into healthier patterns and is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture as an effective treatment for over forty medical problems, including allergies; respiratory conditions; gastrointestinal disorders; gynecological problems; nervous conditions; and disorders of the eyes, nose and throat; and childhood illnesses; among others.

Acupuncture has been used in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. In 2002, a center in Maine received a unique grant to study acupuncture treatment for substance abuse.

Although recognizing that acupuncture had been used before for helping those with abuse problems, this study sought to show that ear acupuncture’s effects on relaxation response helped those abusing drugs and alcohol better deal with the anxiety and life circumstances thought to lead them to substance abuse.

Acupuncture is an effective and low-cost treatment for headaches and chronic pain, associated with problems like back injuries and arthritis. It has also been used to supplement invasive Western treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery.

Acupuncture is generally more effective when used as prevention or before a health condition becomes acute, but it has been used to help patients suffering from cancer and AIDS.

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health announced that pain from certain musculoskeletal conditions such as fibromyalgia could be helped by acupuncture. Acupuncture has limited value in treating conditions or traumas that require surgery or emergency care (such as for broken bones).

Acupuncture is generally a safe procedure. If individuals are in doubt about a medical condition, more than one physician should be consulted. Also, individuals should feel comfortable and confident that their acupuncturist is knowledgeable and properly trained.