Acupuncture – A Simple Explanation


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique to treat body pains. It is a technique by which fine needles are inserted and manipulated at specific points on the body to treat pain. Acupuncture is derived from the latin words 'acus' meaning needle and 'pungere' meaning holes. Acupuncture originated in china in ancient ages and found its usage in Mongolia, Asia, Europe and America.

Acupuncture points (acupoints) are the points located on the body which are the points of acupuncture treatment. There are a few hundred of points spread along meridians. Meridians are the connected locations across body that affect a specific part or organ of a person). There are other points too which are no associated with any meridian.
Body acupoints are generally found out by a measurement unit. The measurement unit is called the cun. Cun is standardized as per the proportional distances from different landmark points. According to WHO (World Health Organization) statistics, there are circa four hundred acupoints on the body. There are various ways for locating acupoints. Acupoints can be determined by feeling for slight differences in body temperature on the surface of the skin. This method is known as palpation method.

Acupuncture is generally a safe method of treating body pains when done by a trained practitioner. Many times it is very relaxing and healthy during or after the treatment. One advantage of acupuncture is that an ailment can get cured while treating for another ailment. This is the most positive side effect of acupuncture.

Most of the side effects are caused by improper or untrained acupuncturist. There is no or very little pain when the needles are inserted. But due to the usage of a non-sterile needle there are chances of infection in the body. Sometimes (though rarely) the ailment gets worsened and there are instances when the patient lose consciousness. Generally reactions like nausea, sweating or dizziness may occur but they do not cause any long term harm to the patient.

Side effects of acupuncture can be minimized or avoided by taking the following precautions:

1. Insertion of needle should be avoided to the abdomen and lumbosacral region of a woman who is pregnant.
2. Insertion of needles in blood vessels should be avoided.
3. Acupoints at the back and chest should be needed with extreme care as it may injure the organs.

There are some risks of acupuncture although they are very rare:

1. Bruising
2. Bleeding
3. Punctured Lung
4. Nerve Damage
5. Accidental Injury to organs (Brain, Spinal Cord, Heart, Liver, Spleen, Kidney)
6. Fainting
7. Muscle Spasms

Acupuncture has unique mechanisms. The most commonly used acupuncture mechanisms are:
* Electromagnetic signals: Stimulating of acupuncture points enable electromagnetic signals and these signals stimulate the flow of endorphins, the pain killing biochemicals.

* Opioid systems activation: opiods are released in the central nervous system and these reduce pains.

Acupuncture is a popular form of treatment from China and it has gained tremendous popularity through out the world as a very effective pain relief treatment.