acupunctureAcupuncture has been used for centuries to relieve pain and other ailments. The practice uses thin needles to stimulate meridians, or acupuncture points, located at various spots throughout the body. These meridians are said to generate qi, which is a life force. Acupuncture is an ancient healing form that is still a prominent part of traditional Chinese medicine. It is practiced in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. There are slight variations between the styles used by each country. Acupuncture is unlikely to have serious side effects and is considered safe when sanitary precautions are followed.

History Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used since the Shang Dynasty, which ran from 1600 to 1100 BC. In the Second Century BC, steel needles replaced the original stone and bone needles. Korea began using acupuncture during the Ming Dynasty around 1340. This holistic approach was paired with herbalism to treat most illnesses. During the 1600s, Portuguese missionaries returned home from Japan and Java with tales of the use of acupuncture for pain management.

Acupuncture’s use declined in the 1700s. In 1822, the Chinese Emperor banned the Imperial Academy of Medicine from teaching acupuncture. It was revived in the 1900s under Chairman Mao Tse Tung. By 1970, patients underwent surgeries in China while their pain was controlled by acupuncture with no anesthesia. Nowadays, acupuncture is used for pain relief but not as an anesthetic.

Using Acupuncture For Pain Management

Chronic pain can be controlled effectively by acupuncture. It works especially well for osteoarthritis of the knee. Reviews in 2007, 2008 and 2012 agreed that acupuncture had a positive effect on neck pain, migraine headaches and most forms of osteoarthritis, but the reasons were unclear. Some thought the pain relief was from a placebo effect. Some believe that acupuncture works by releasing opioid peptides and adenosine. Regardless of the reasons, acupuncture is also recommended for chronic low back pain, shoulder pain and lateral elbow pain.

Figure Showing Acupuncture PointsAcupuncture can be successfully used for managing pain. Practitioners claim that stimulating the meridians releases qi, which helps rid the body of pain. Patients who receive acupuncture experience a safe, reliable reduction in pain without having to risk becoming addicted to narcotics. Acupuncture treatments are quick and reasonably painless when administered by a master physician.

Acupuncture is another option to consider when taking a holistic approach to the management of chronic pain. Practitioners have had success with it for thousands of years. The actual reason it works remains a mystery, but the results are impressive. Acupuncture is respected because it works, not because we know how it works.