Acupuncture has been a practice employed for generations, and medical acupuncture is a popular and growing technique today for a variety of aches, pains and ailments. Melissa Wilson, an Oriental Medical Doctor at Renown Medical Group – Integrative Primary Care, tells us more about this holistic healthcare option.
First, what is acupuncture? And what is medical acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical art used for more than 3,000 years. In acupuncture, fine, sterile needles are inserted in the body at various locations to create a pathway for the flow of energy.
It is believed that disturbances in this flow disrupt the body’s harmony and result in illness, disease and dysfunction. Treatment seeks to enable the body to balance itself.
Medical acupuncture describes acupuncture performed by a physician trained and licensed in both Western medicine and acupuncture as a specialty practice. Current knowledge of pathology, anatomy and physiology and the principles of Western medicine enhance the benefits of acupuncture as a complementary treatment.
How do you know if acupuncture is right for you?
The use of acupuncture as a complementary therapy to Western medicine — not simply an alternative therapy — is becoming more widespread. Acupuncturists today receive training to better help them integrate with conventional medicine, and requirements for licensing are more stringent.
Studies have provided evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture, and, in many cases, insurance covers services. When properly performed by a licensed acupuncturist utilizing sterile needles, medical acupuncture can safely offer relief for a variety of medical conditions, such as:
Low back pain:
The side effects of acupuncture for low back pain are substantially lower than many drugs and medical conventions used to treat this chronic condition. Studies have shown that acupuncture combined with Western medical treatments offers more benefits to patients than conventional medicine alone.
Acupuncture in tandem with Western medical treatments, including pain-relieving drugs, has proven to reduce the frequency and/or severity of migraine and tension headaches in many patients.
Cancer Side Effects:
Chemotherapy patients often experience debilitating nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture in combination with anti-nausea medication has emerged as a viable treatment for these symptoms.
The benefits for stroke victims continues to be researched. Current studies show that many patients experience relief from conditions resulting from stroke including chronic paralysis and spasticity — even patients who have suffered with these health issues for many years.
What are some other benefits of acupuncture?
While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, it can be used to treat a variety of conditions including stress, tension and mental/emotional concerns; digestive disorders, neurological and muscular issues; respiratory disorders; and menstruation and reproduction.