Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world and the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country. Acupuncture is divided into two philosophies. The first being the Eastern idea which is a 5,000 year old Chinese system of natural healing (no drugs-no surgery) which is concerned with restoring proper energy flow to the various organs, glands and tissues of the body on the premise that most diseases are the result of malfunction due to disrupted energetics. The Western idea is the use of needles to stop pain by blocking nerve pathways, as well as, the release of your body’s own natural drugs-known as endorphins and enkephalins.
Acupuncture treatments are typically performed by inserting approximately 10 needles into the channels of energy which are called meridians, located throughout the body just underneath the skin surface. Needles are left in places typically for 15-20 minutes. Sessions are performed three times a week for the first two weeks in order to determine the effectiveness of the bodies response. If there is a good response, treatment will be continued until the problem is resolved. Very commonly acupuncture can be used with fingertip pressure, electrical stimulation, and numerous other techniques which do not involve using an actual needle.
Acupuncture can be used in the treatment of numerous health conditions, most of which are related to pain management. There are over two thousand conditions which can be treated with acupuncture. Back pain is the most common condition treated, followed by joint pain, neck pain, severe headaches/migraine, and recurring pain. Typical ailments reported in literature also include carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, neuralgias, trigeminal neuralgia, tics, spasms, muscular rheumatism, neuralgia of the shoulders and arm, tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, ulcers, stomach problems, diarrhea, hepatitis, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, coughs, certain types of heart trouble, abnormal blood pressures, hemorrhoids, lumbago, bladder irritation, bed wetting, certain kidney problems, female disorders, impotence, glaucoma (sometimes), weak eyesight, hay fever, loss of smell, tonsillitis, loss of hearing, skin conditions, and even nervous and psychiatric factors based on the fact that mental problems often arise from physical disorders.
Acupuncture is quickly becoming known for its effectiveness and efficiency in alleviating many kinds of pain and many Americans are taking advantage of this process. According to the 2007 National Health Survey, approximately 3.1 million Americans stating using acupuncture in the past year. Though it is most commonly sought out by adults, it is used with growing frequency for children. According to estimates, about 150,000 children in the U.S. underwent acupunture in 2007. Additionally, there are relatively few complications or side affects due to acupucture treatment. Acupuncture is drawing more Americans towards this form of pain management since it has fewer adverse side affects than many standard drug treatments used, such as anti-inflammatory medications and steriod injections. In a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine which was conducted over the past decade, it found that acupucture outperformed standard pain care and sham treatments when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines, and chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Acupucture is becoming an increasely popular form of alternative healthcare in the U.S. due to its efficacy of treatment, few adverse side effects, and natural method. On average, a very high percentage of patients will respond satisfactory to acupuncture treatment; however, some patients do not respond due to a variety of reasons. Advanced age, severity of condition, irreversible tissue damage, etc., are deterrents to recovery. However, in conjunction with chiropractic, physical therapy, and acupuncture, the odds are very favorable for a good response.
By: Dr. Seyoung Kim, as seen in Brag Book Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 Issue