What Is Acupuncture?
Table of Contents
Types Of AcupunctureThere are various types of acupuncture that are being utilized currently, including traditional acupuncture, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, and finger or manual acupuncture.
Traditional acupuncture involves inserting needles into strategic places on the body in order to stimulate increased circulation and the release of endorphins. Electroacupuncture utilizes the same principles as traditional acupuncture; however, it involves using either electrically charged needles, or electrical pads that deliver a small amount of electric current to the areas of the body where the needles or pads are positioned. It is believed that electroacupuncture enhances the effects of traditional acupuncture. Laser acupuncture uses laser beams to stimulate muscle tissues, which accelerates the recovery process by increasing circulation. Furthermore, laser acupuncture increases the strength of damaged tissues in some individuals. Finger or manual acupuncture replaces the needles, electrical pads, or laser beams with specific finger placements.
The risks associated with acupuncture are relatively low if the technique is performed by a certified and experienced professional. Potential side effects include minor soreness or bruising, and bleeding at the site of needle insertion. When electroacupuncture is used, there is the potential for minor skin irritation. Serious side effects of acupuncture include organ injury if the needles are placed incorrectly or if they are inserted too deeply. Additionally, infection can occur if sterile needles are not used for the procedure.
When laser acupuncture is being performed, it is vital that an experienced professional uses laser beams that are 5 to 550mW, 600-700 nm for red beams, and 800-1000 nm for near infrared laser beams, as anything higher can result in a burn to the skin. Moreover, patients who have certain medical conditions including bleeding disorders, a pacemaker, or those who are pregnant should not receive acupuncture treatment.
Although there are various risks associated with acupuncture, they are minimized if the procedure is performed by an experienced professional. Further, when acupuncture is performed correctly, it can result in pain relief benefits that are superior to other commonly used treatments.
Conditions Related To AcupunctureVarious conditions can be successfully treated with acupuncture, including fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, hip and leg pain, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, joint pain, and headaches.
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating musculoskeletal condition that often results in chronic fatigue, decreased physical activity, stiffness, sleep problems, and a decrease in overall well-being. Electroacupuncture and manual acupuncture have both been utilized to treat fibromyalgia; however, electroacupuncture helps to relieve pain and stiffness, and also helps to improve sleep patterns. Additionally, traditional acupuncture has been successful in treating symptoms related to fibromyalgia in some patients.
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that involves motor and sensory deficits as the result of nerve damage. This condition is often difficult to treat as determining the exact cause is often tricky. Acupuncture treatment is quite effective for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy as it leads to improved nerve conduction, which results in an improvement of sensory and motor symptoms associated with this condition.
Arthritis is a degenerative type of disorder that can result in significant pain and a reduced ability to perform normal activities. Traditional acupuncture is often used to relieve pain associated with arthritis. It produces the same results as when it is used to treat fibromyalgia.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is experienced by many individuals and is characterized by numbness, tingling, and pain in the wrists and hands. In some patients, it also results in motor deficits. Acupuncture treatment, particularly electroacupuncture, has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.
When acupuncture is used to treat pain in various areas of the body, including the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, and legs, it is believed to result in an increase in the circulation of fluid and oxygen in damaged muscle tissue, which results in pain relief, and an increase in muscle strength while at the same time enhancing the recovery process.
Headaches are often the result of stress and tension, but may also develop due to persistent pain that is associated with various conditions. Acupuncture can help to minimize headache pain and can also help to reduce the occurrence of headaches.
Acupuncture can be used in such a diffuse manner and has the ability to produce beneficial results. Due to theses facts, acupuncture is becoming a popular treatment choice for individuals suffering from a variety of conditions.
ConclusionAcupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular choice for pain control. It involves inserting small needles into specific areas in the body that help to enhance circulation and improve the body’s natural response to inflammation or injury. When acupuncture is performed correctly, it has the ability to reduce muscle spasm and stiffness, and also has the ability to strengthen damaged tissues during the recovery process. There are various forms of acupuncture available including traditional acupuncture, electroacupuncture, laser acupuncture, and finger or manual acupuncture. These acupuncture techniques have been shown to be effective at relieving pain by increasing circulation at the insertion site, as well as helping to release pain-relieving hormones.
Various conditions can be successfully treated by acupuncture including fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and pain in various regions of the body. In order to minimize risks of acupuncture, patients should ensure that the procedure is performed by a certified and experienced professional. When acupuncture is performed correctly, it has the ability to produce results that are superior to those that are seen with other, commonly used treatments.
- Amezaga Urruela M, Suarez-Almazor ME. Acupuncture in the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2012;14(6):589-97.
- Deare JC, Zheng Z, Xue CC, Liu JP, Shang J, Scott SW, Littlejohn G. Acupuncture for treating fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;5:CD007070.
- Hadianfard MJ, Hosseinzadeh Parizi M. A randomized clinical trial of fibromyalgia treatment with acupuncture compared with fluoxetine. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2012;14(10):631-640.
- Khosrawi S, Moghtaderi A, Haghighat S. Acupuncture in treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial study. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(1):1-7.
- Kumnerddee W, Kaewtong A. Efficacy of acupuncture versus night splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome: a rando-mized clinical trial. J Med Assoc Thai. 2010;93(12):1463–1469.
- Schröder S, Liepert J, Remppis A, Greten JH. Acupuncture treatment improves nerve conduction in peripheral neuropathy. Eur J Neurol. 2007;14(3):276-281.
- Wang C, de Pablo P, Chen X, Schmid C, McAlindon T. Acupuncture for pain relief in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Arthritis Rheum. 2008;59(9):1249-56.