Acupuncture, among the oldest healing practices in the world, is part of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.
Acupuncture may be an effective adjunctive therapy for many pain conditions. It has been claimed that acupuncture is effective for various pain conditions including migraines, back pain, tennis elbow, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The traditional Chinese “Ah Shi” (translates to ‘Oh yes’) points are frequently equivalent to trigger points at which the application of pressure reproduces the pain syndrome. The near-and-far acupuncture technique, where needles are placed at the Ah Shi / Trigger points as well as distal points is the most commonly used technique in modern China today. Relaxation of “stuck” myofibrils, increased local blood supply, the release of spinal dynorphin and encephalin have all been postulated to explain the rehabilitative effects of trigger point needling. The distal points usually below the elbow or knee which are used to modulate the nervous system and the various ‘pain gates’ represent another meeting point between modern medicine and ancient traditional Chinese acupuncture.
Acupuncture is considered safe when performed by an experienced practitioner using sterile needles. Relatively few complications from acupuncture have been reported..
Acupuncture seems to be a promising treatment for chronic pain. This ancient oriental art of healing is gradually working its way into the Western medical system. The fact that acupuncture is based on the natural healing of the body and has minimal side effects, this therapy seems to provide much good and minimal harm.