How Acupuncture Can Help?

That's a very common question - "How acupuncture can help?" Acupuncture treatment is about manipulating the Qi flow through the meridians. The aim is to simulate movement and clear stagnation. It can be helpful where there is an imbalance in the Zang Fu organs in helping to restore harmony.

For superficial syndromes affecting the exterior, acupuncture may produce rapid relief, but for interior problems, a longer treatment is usually needed. In China it is not unusual for people with serious ailments to receive up to 2000 treatment sessions.

Treatments are often given on a daily basis in courses of 12 or more. Western patients are unlikely to visit their therapists so regularly. In China, acupuncture is seen as additional to herbal medicine, and treatment is likely to be prescribed when pain is being experienced. In the West, practitioners tend to train as acupuncturists rather than Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors. Many recommend herbal medicines, but the approach may be formulaic - using prepared herbs, rather than adapting the prescription to suit the individual.

Where acupuncture can help?

Just exactly where and how acupuncture can help? Although acupuncture is used for a wide and growing range of ailments in the West, it was not the first choice for many problems traditionally. Its main use is in stimulating, balancing, and moving Qi; and if these sorts of deficiencies are not an aspect of someone's problem, it may be inappropriate.

Acupuncture can be helpful for sprains and other muscular/joint injuries, and it can provide relief from osteoarthritis for six months or more, although treatment does need to be repeated at intervals. It is generally not suitable for rheumatoid arthritis during the inflammatory stage. However, when osteoarthritis then develops in the damaged joint, it can be effective for pain relief.

Many acupuncturists report that up to 95 % of headaches can be successfully treated. Acupuncture is also successful for migraine, and often gives very long-term relief, leaving sufferers migraine-free for years.

Nerve pains (neuralgia) also respond well, and acupuncture can be successful in treating the sort of nerve pains that can develop following shingles (Herpes zoster).

There tends to be a more mixed reaction to acupuncture used for digestive and respiratory problems, although success rates of 50% or more have been reported for conditions such as bronchitis and inflammatory bowel disorders. Often, however, there are more suitable therapies with a greater chance of success for curing problems.

Studies also suggest that acupuncture can be effective in cases of angina pectoris (cure rates of up to 80% have been claimed), although, as with other chronic conditions, the treatment course needs to be repeated two or three times a year. Medical reports from China also suggest significant success with stroke victims and in cases of paralysis. In many, acupuncture is likely to be only one aspect of treatment, which probably also will include Qigong, massage, and herbal remedies.

Acupuncture is also extremely helpful after surgery and helps to re-establish Qi flows in the affected meridians.

When Acupuncture Is Contraindicated

After knowing "how acupuncture can help", let's turn to "When acupuncture is contraindicated?"

There are a few situations where acupuncture is contraindicated :

  • Where the patient has a hemophilic condition.
  • Where the patient is pregnant (certain points and needle manipulations are contraindicated in pregnancy).
  • Where the patient has a severe psychotic condition or has recently taken drugs or alcohol. Although acupuncture would generally be contraindicated in these circumstances, it should be stressed that it can be very helpful in drug and alcohol rehabilitation regimes.

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