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Acupuncture: Non – Invasive, Wellness Essential

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Although acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine, the vast majority of Americans know little about how acupuncture works and how it is effective for many health problems and challenges. This is a form of alternative medicine in which very thin needles are strategically inserted into different parts of the body. Although not based on the fundamentals of traditional medicine, proponents often point to many successes that individuals have experienced over the years. Although originally used to treat certain types of pain, it is now widely used for a variety of other, alternative purposes and uses. Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that health is maintained by balancing the extremes known as yin and Yangas part of a life force referred to as, qi or chic.

1. How does it work?: The theory states that these life forces flow via so-called meridians. These meridians and/or energy flows flow from approximately 350 acupuncture points in the human body. While there is no known and distributed/published scientific studies/evidence that these points exist or are important, there is a large body of work and clinical evidence that suggests that it is helpful to treat certain conditions, etc.

2. Possible uses: Studies at a variety of institutions (including Mayo Clinic etc.) and in China and Germany etc. have shown that there appears to be substantial evidence of effectiveness in certain cases. Many claim it’s great for treating certain headaches, including migraines. There is clinical evidence that it is helpful in addressing back pain, neck pain, knee pain and even symptoms of osteoarthritis. Over 15 years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed several conditions/conditions for which they claim acupuncture has been shown to be effective. These include: blood pressure (both high and low); toothache; arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatism); facial pain and discomfort; Sciatica; certain other health risks. Additionally, they stated that it had the potential to be useful in supporting other ailments including perhaps dementia, Tourette’s Syndrome, fibromyalgia, etc.

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3. Possible risks: Even the safest techniques can have potential risks. Acupuncture should only, and can only legally, be performed by a licensed health practitioner trained in the technique. Some potential risks are: patients with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners; possibility of bleeding and/or bruising at the insertion sites; unsterilized needles (although acupuncture needles are regulated as medical devices and should be used for single use only); and misplaced or placed too low. However, acupuncture is generally considered safe.

4. Reservation: Like most alternative approaches, acupuncture should be used alongside traditional medical treatments. Make sure you are otherwise healthy and your pain/discomfort is not potentially life threatening. Discuss this thoroughly before beginning therapy.

5. My personal experience: In the early to mid 1970’s I was privileged to witness extensive oral surgery successfully performed using only acupuncture for pain relief. About a decade later, after having a tooth pulled, I suffered from trisma (often referred to as Lockjaw) and after a few days visit an acupuncturist, conduct a 30-minute treatment and thoroughly and permanently eliminate the condition. For the past few years I have regularly enlisted the services of an acupuncturist to treat the chronic symptoms/ailments of shoulder pain, arthritis (osteoarthritis), lower back pain and pain in my knees. From my personal experience, I enthusiastically suggest it as part of a comprehensive wellness program.

The more you know, the better you will be. Read, learn, understand and open – your – mind to the potential benefits and uses of acupuncture. I have no doubts that you will be glad you did!

Thanks to Richard Brody

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