Acupuncture - Getting to the Point of Health
New technologies, scientific discoveries, and innovations are happening every day. As a result, new cures and treatments for various ailments are on the horizon – the future is promising. But, taking a look into the past is also enlightening. It can give us valuable medical knowledge and treatment. Case and point – acupuncture.
History of Acupuncture
Historians debate just how far back the practice of acupuncture first appeared – some say that sharpened stones and bones that date as far back as 6,000 BCE prove the presence of acupuncture treatments. But the most agreed upon date is about 100 BCE with The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This document was likely a compilation of traditions handed down over centuries, and its concepts of channels (meridians or conduits) are still referenced and used to this day.
While acupuncture has been practiced for centuries, it is a “new” practice in the United States. In 1997, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) publicized the practice’s safety and ability to treat a wide range of conditions. As a result, acupuncture is now covered by many insurance policies and is more widely accepted.
According to the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, “Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites – commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin.”
Modern Acupuncture Treatment
Prior to treatment, your acupuncturist will get a complete medical and health history, and will usually examine your tongue’s shape, color, and coating, and perform other physical examinations to assess your health and starting point and to develop a treatment plan.
During treatment, you lay on a treatment table while the acupuncturist stimulates various points on your body with fine needles strategically (and gently) placed for five to 30 minutes.
What Does Acupuncture Treat?
While the list of ailments acupuncture treats is seemingly endless, the top conditions it’s used to treat are:
- Headaches and migraines – Studies like this one published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicate treatment results in less frequent migraines as well as a reduction in migraine intensity.
- Back Pain and Chronic Pain – According to WebMD, back pain is the number one reason people seek acupuncture treatment. It is thought that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system, which triggers the release of chemicals into muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals alter the recipient’s experience of pain.
- Insomnia – Many conditions are all classified under the broader “insomnia” term, and are treated differently with acupuncture. Insomnia.net identifies the following such conditions:
- Difficulty going to sleep
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Waking in the very early morning and not able to return to sleep
- Sleep with vivid and disruptive dreaming
- Inability to sleep in general
- Cancer & Chemotherapy Recovery – According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, recent advances in acupuncture suggests that it may provide clinical benefit for cancer patients with treatment-related side effects such as nausea and vomiting, post-operative pain, cancer-related pain, chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and more.
- Cognitive Decline – According to HealthCMi, studies indicate that “acupuncture benefits patients with disorders linked to impairment of blood flow to the brain,” and helps with dizziness, blurry vision, depression, confusion, memory loss, general senility and more.