Acupuncture has long been recognized as one of the mainstays of alternative medicine, offering patients pain relief through a more holistic method. A practice in traditional Chinese medicine, this technique is said to help balance the flow of energy in the body.
How does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture practitioners believe that a disruption to the flow of energy in the body can cause many ailments, including chronic pain. In order to cure these ailments, it is essential to balance the flow of energy. In acupuncture, very thin needles are placed strategically through the skin and into various “energy flow” points in the body, redirecting the flow of energy and re-balancing the body. Western practitioners believe that acupuncture triggers a boost in the body’s natural pain killers, increasing blood flow and stimulating pain relief.
How is Acupuncture Used for Chronic Pain Relief?
Studies show that primarily, acupuncture helps with post-operative and chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, as well as post-operative dental pain. However, used in conjunction with other treatments or as an alternative therapeutic treatment, acupuncture has shown promise in providing pain relief for many acute and chronic conditions. This includes conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, lower back pain, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, myofascial pain, tennis elbow, neck pain and even labor pain.
While studies are still in progress to determine the biological and physiological connections that make acupuncture a potential alternative method for chronic pain relief– there is no doubt that acupuncture can be an effective part of pain relief and management.
Acupuncture Side Effects
It’s important to note that side effects associated with acupuncture are generally due to poor acupuncturist training or poor hygiene. Minor risk associated with acupuncture can include soreness, light bleeding and bruising around the needle placement locations. However, more severe side effects can include organ injury, if the needles are inserted too deeply, or infections. That is why it’s vital to find your state’s certified training requirements and license regulations. While most states regulate acupuncture and require practitioners to undergo certified training to be licensed, some states do not have regulations in place.