Acupuncture is a type of treatment involving the insertion of very thin needles at specific points on the body, to different depths, through the skin of an individual. Research shows that it can help alleviate pain, and for a wide variety of other complaints it is used. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), however, insufficient evidence exists for its effectiveness in areas other than pain.
It is uncertain how acupuncture works scientifically. Some individuals believe that it functions by balancing vital energy, while others think it has a neurological effect. Acupuncture among Western medical physicians and scientists remains controversial.
What is acupuncture?
In order to control their energy, an acupuncturist can inject needles into the body of an individual.This, it is believed, will help improve well-being and some diseases can be cured. The conditions for which it is used include various forms of discomfort, such as headaches, issues with blood pressure, and whooping cough, among others.
How does it work?
Traditional Chinese medicine explains that wellbeing is the result of a harmonious equilibrium of the life force ‘s complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” known as “qi,” pronounced “chi.” The effect of an imbalance of the forces is said to be illness. In the human body, Qi is said to flow across meridians, or pathways. Via 350 acupuncture points throughout the body, these merids and energy flows are available. It is said that injecting needles with suitable combinations into these points brings the energy flow back into proper balance.
There is no scientific evidence that meridians or acupuncture points exist, and it is difficult to prove that they do or do not do so, however several reports show that acupuncture works in some circumstances.
To clarify acupuncture, some researchers have used neuroscience. Acupuncture points are seen as locations that can activate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. Stimulation stimulates the flow of blood, thus inducing the activity of the body’s natural painkillers at the same time.
Because of the intrusive aspect of acupuncture, it is hard to set up inquiries using proper scientific controls. For outcomes to be compared with those of real acupuncture, a control group will have to undergo fake therapy, or placebo, in a clinical trial. Some studies have suggested that acupuncture provides a patient with similar benefits to placebo, however others have shown that there are some real advantages.
Research conducted in Germany has shown that acupuncture may help alleviate headaches and migraines induced by stress.
The NCCIH reports that it has been shown to assist in cases involving:
- Pain in your lower back
- Pain in the neck
- Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis
- Pain in the Knee
- Migraine and headache
They list additional conditions that can benefit from acupuncture, but need additional clinical evidence. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed a number of conditions in 2003 in which acupuncture is said to have been shown to be effective.
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