Acupuncture is the practice of sticking hair fine needles into the body at various points in order to relieve symptoms or cure illnesses and diseases. It is a practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. When the needles are put into the body, they are said to work by realigning the yin, yang, and xi (or ki or chi) of a person. Yin and yang are the balances of nature and xi is the life force of a person.
Some Western doctors acknowledge that acupuncture works. However, there are others that criticize the practice. This is because there is no physiological base or facts that show acupuncture should work. The biology of the human body does not contain these acupuncture points. However, there are some neuro-imaging studies that show acupuncture does affect the outermost layer of organs and can cause relief to many symptoms related to illnesses.
Western doctors do not recommend acupuncture to try to heal ailments. However, while it may not be recommended to cure illnesses (although it is claimed to have done so for various ailments), it is recognized as relieving many symptoms.
One of the diseases that acupuncture has been known to help is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This is great news for women who have PCOS and like to get pregnant. PCOS messes with the body and the hormones causing the reproductive system to not behave as it should and causing infertility.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder, so of course, there are many other things to do such as following certain eating habits, keeping weight down, and avoiding alcohol. Acupuncture will not cure PCOS. However, it can help the body by affecting the different glands and releasing hormones. This way a woman may be able to get pregnant.
Acupuncture has also been shown to relieve tension headaches, arthritis, and back pain.
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture recognizes acupuncture as a complimentary therapy for all of the following conditions:
- Abdominal distention / flatulence
- Acute and chronic pain control
- Allergic sinusitis
- Anesthesia for high-risk patients or patients with previous adverse responses to
- Anxiety, fright, panic
- Arthritis / arthrosis
- Atypical chest pain (negative workup)
- Bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Certain functional gastrointestinal disorders (nausea and vomiting, esophageal spasm, hyperacidity, irritable bowel)
- Cervical and lumbar spine syndromes
- Constipation, diarrhea
- Cough with contraindications for narcotics
- Drug detoxification
- Dysmenorrheal, pelvic pain
- Frozen shoulder
- Headache (migraine and tension-type), vertigo (Meniere disease), tinnitus
- Idiopathic palpitations, sinus tachycardia
- In fractures, assisting in pain control, edema, and enhancing healing process
- Muscle spasms, tremors, tics, contractures
- Neuralgias (trigeminal, herpes zoster, post herpetic pain, other)
- Persistent hiccups
- Phantom pain
- Plantar fascitis
- Post-traumatic and post-operative ileums
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Selected dermatoses (urticaria, pruritus, eczema, psoriasis)
- Sequelae of stroke syndrome (aphasia, hemiplegia)
- Seventh nerve palsy
- Severe hyperthermia
- Sleep disorders
- Sprains and contusions
- Temporo-mandibular joint derangement, bruxism
- Urinary incontinence, retention (neurogenic, spastic, adverse drug effect)
Acupuncture can be a great complimentary therapy for those people who can stand needles and are not afraid of having any side effects. Sometimes minor side effects such as minor bleeding after the needles are taken out of the skin (even less than a cut received from shaving), bruising, and dizziness may occur. But compared to the typical side effects of most modern medicines, these possible side effects from acupuncture are a cake walk.