Acupuncture is healing in a very natural way: it consists of needle sticks from the Far East that replace pain relievers, fight allergies, and can even smooth wrinkles.

The exact mode of action of acupuncture is unknown . According to the Chinese understanding of health, the body is traversed by a dense network of channels, the meridians, through which vital energy flows with its yin and yang parts.

How does acupuncture work exactly?

These two forces are effective in the body at the same time, but they are like polar opposites. Its balance represents the ideal state of health. An imbalance leads to discomfort and illness. By stimulating certain points, the energy flow can be regulated again.

What happens in the body?

During treatment, fine needles are inserted straight or diagonally, twisted, or moved up and down. This creates a sense of flow that starts from the needle and runs along the meridians.

Each of these lines is assigned to an organ system. However, often the area of ​​points and the area of ​​discomfort are far apart from each other. For example, a point on the leg may be “responsible” for a head discomfort.

¿ What discomfort can be treated with acupuncture?

The spectrum of diseases that needles help with is large. For example, acupuncture helps with various acute and chronic pain, musculoskeletal system disorders, menopausal symptoms, allergies, addictions, and respiratory problems.

Likewise, it can help with disorders such as insomnia, internal discomfort, and exhaustion. Even against wrinkles, acupuncture is used. It can be highly effective against chronic diseases, especially in combination with body therapies such as shiatsu or lymphatic drainage and Chinese pharmacotherapy.

Frequently asked questions about acupuncture

The following answers provide guidance for frequently asked questions about acupuncture.

Is it possible to treat yourself?

No, that is not recommended. Acupressure is more suitable if you want to try something on your own. Certain energy points are not treated with needles, but with a specific massage through the fingertips.

Are there any side effects?

If you treat yourself with an experienced therapist, you will rarely have side effects. It may be possible, for example, a bruise at the site of the puncture. Children can be acupunctured from the age of six. At this age, one can already be prepared for this type of treatment.

How to find a good acupuncturist?

Acupuncture is offered by physicians and naturopaths. It is best to consult with acquaintances who have already had experience with therapy. The following questions are important: Does the therapist advise the patient in detail? Are you taking your time? Physicians offering acupuncture treatment require certified acupuncture training of at least 140 hours.

Is its effectiveness proven?

There is currently no scientific evidence for the existence of energy pathways and acupuncture points. However, studies have shown that acupuncture is effective, for example against chronic pain.

How does an acupuncture session work?

During treatment, the patient should be comfortable and relaxed. The doctor should keep the patient’s feet warm and, if necessary, massage them before pricking or heating them with an infrared lamp.

The puncture itself can be somewhat painful, especially if the patient is afraid of treatment. But you really won’t feel much of the needles – a slight tug, tingling, or a warm sensation at best.

In many cases, acupuncture causes rapid relaxation . After the treatment, the patient must remain relaxed for some time. You are asked to be careful for the rest of the day. In total, a session lasts approximately 30 minutes and a therapy covers 10 to 15 sessions. It is ideal to be treated once a week.

International study shows effect of acupuncture on chronic pain

Many chronic pain patients are convinced: acupuncture helps. However, there are always doubts about the effectiveness of the method. Critics believe that the effect of acupuncture is based only on the fact that most doctors and therapists take more time for their patients.

Currently a large international investigation has shown that this is not the case. According to this, acupuncture as a treatment for chronic back, shoulder, knee and head pain is not only more effective than routine treatment with medications or physical therapy.

It also helps better than so-called sham acupuncture. The needles are inserted only superficially and beyond the relevant acupuncture points. This shows that the choice of points also plays an important role in the treatment

Acupuncture to improve vision

The procedure can successfully treat a variety of diseases, such as presbyopia, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration , cataracts, and retinal disorders.

It does not need to be done on the eyes themselves, but on certain points on the body. These are, for example, between the eyebrows or on the hands and have a particularly intense effect on the eye area. The method is also suitable for children with ametropia or strabismus.

Only in myopia in adulthood, this does not bring help. For maximum effect, this special form of acupuncture requires two 30-minute treatments per day. There should be a break of at least one hour between sessions. An improvement is usually noticeable in the first week.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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