Conventional medicine treats pain with the help of medications; by either blocking the transmission of pain signals in the body or by correcting the underlying problems caused by the pain in the first place. However, traditional and alternative forms of medicine such as acupuncture manage pain issues within the body through the means of redirecting disrupted energy flows. One of the very few forms of alternative treatments used in conjunction with conventional treatments, acupuncture is seen as a mercurial rise in popularity in the past few decades.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture dates back to ancient China, about 2500 years ago. It has been widely practised there for a number of millennia, not only pain relief but also for treating many ailments. Acupuncture isn’t just considered a form of therapy, but a holistic form of medicine. Acupuncture works on the principle of the flow of energy within the body, also known as ‘Qi’, in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture strives to correct the disruptions in ‘Qi’ that may cause pain by manipulating over 2000 of the specific pressure points within the body with the help of specially created needles.
Where is acupuncture effective?
Acupuncture is very effective in treating a host of ailments, especially in relieving the associated pain. Some of the areas where acupuncture has proven its effectiveness are:
1. Treating nausea and vomiting caused due to chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients
2. Very useful in treating post-operative pain caused due to dental procedures
3. Rehabilitating patients who have suffered strokes
4. Fibromyalgia (musculo-skeletal pain with fatigue accompanied by sleep and memory issues)
5. Effective in combating withdrawal symptoms caused due to addiction
6. Pain from menstrual cramps
7. Tennis elbow
8. Osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis caused due to the erosion of tissues present at the ends of one’s bones)
9. Pain of the lower vertebrae within the spinal column
How does acupuncture work within the body?
According to modern medicine, the specific pressure points utilized by acupuncture within the body help in releasing chemicals that can block or at least reduce pain. It encourages the flow of chemicals from the brain, which acts as nerve and pain blockers. It also helps stimulate the muscles and nerve endings, which can lessen inflammation and thus help in reducing pain.
Dermatological conditions refer to a range of skin disorders that may be permanent or temporary, painful or painless. Some of the conditions may be caused due to environmental changes or an underlying health issue, while others may be genetic.
Types of Skin Disorders
Here is a list of skin disorders ranging from minor to serious dermatological conditions –
• Acne – Commonly seen on the neck, face, chest, upper back and shoulders, these are characterized by breakouts of pimples, blackheads or whiteheads, nodules, and cysts. Acne usually leaves behind darkened scars on the skin.
• Rosacea – This chronic skin disorder goes through cycles of relapse and fading. Symptoms include facial redness, raised bumps, sensitivity and dryness of the skin.
• Eczema – These are characterized by white or yellow scaly patches that flake off. The affected areas may appear itchy, oily or greasy, and reddish.
• Psoriasis – These are silvery, scaly, sharply defined patches of skin, usually located on the lower back, elbows, knees, and scalp. The condition is mostly asymptotic.
• Cellulitis – A fungi or bacteria entering through a cut or crack in the skin leads to this urgent medical condition. The person observes swelling and redness on the skin that may ooze pus.
• Contact dermatitis – The condition results from coming in contact with an allergen. Rashes and blisters appear hours or days after the contact. The skin becomes itchy, scaly, raw, and red in colour.
• Melasma – This refers to a common dermatological condition, which usually causes dark patches to appear on your face and rarely on the chest, arms, or neck.
• Keratosis pilaris – This is a minor condition, causing tiny, rough bumps on the cheeks, upper arms, or thighs. They are typically white or red, and usually, do not itch or hurt.
Most of the skin disorders stated above are curable. You could turn to medications but most often, they are accompanied by side effects. Therefore, doctors and medical practitioners are now considering acupuncture therapy for the treatment of certain dermatological conditions.
Acupuncture for Dermatological Conditions-
Acupuncture is a very effective remedy for the treatment of facial hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, dark circles, fine lines.
Acupuncture is an ancient and trusted Chinese medicinal practice that has proved to be effective in the treatment of gynaecological problems. It is now the preferred mode of treatment for a growing number of women who are unwilling to opt for conventional medicines and treatment fearing the side effects.
Here is how acupuncture can help –
Acupuncture and Menstrual Problems-
Menstrual disorders are very much prevalent. There are different types of menstrual problems ranging from heavy bleeding, painful cramps to the irregularity of the cycle. These issues cause a lot of worry and anxiety and unless taken care of right away can lead to future complications. Acupuncture can put all your worries to rest. A few sessions of acupuncture can help you by –
• Regulating your hormones – Acupuncture clears the line of communication between the brain and the ovaries. That ensures that the cycle of oestrogen and progesterone is not disrupted. As long as the balance of hormones is not upset, periods are very likely to be regular and timely.
• Improves blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries – Even if the cycle of hormones is normalized it may not help in regularizing periods unless stress and anxiety of daily life are minimized. Sometimes stress can lead to delayed periods. Acupuncture can reduce worries and anxiety and improve blood flow to the reproductive organs to make sure that your periods start on time.
• Triggers ovulation – Acupuncture makes sure that the ovaries release a matured egg once every month. This means that the period will naturally start within 12-14 days unless the woman conceives.
• Relives period pain and cramps – Strategically inserted needles ease menstrual pain and cramps by increasing blood and energy flow.
Acupuncture and Ovarian Cysts-
Ovarian Cysts affect a large chunk of the female population. Usually, they are quite harmless but if they enlarge or a large cluster of them develops, then many reproductive problems crop up. Chinese medicine believes that cysts are an accumulation of blood and other fluids that have not been able to drain away. This could have happened because of a hormonal imbalance. Therefore, acupuncture aims to strike a balance in the endocrinal system and improve blood flow to the ovaries. This ensures that the cysts shrink.
Acupuncture and Uterine Fibroids-
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous little growths along the walls of the uterus. They can lead to heavy bleeding and irregular periods. According to ancient Chinese medicinal science, fibroids can result from a blockage in the path of ‘qi’. ‘Qi’ is responsible for the uninterrupted flow of both blood and energy. That is why through acupuncture the blockage is removed so that blood and energy can flow uninterrupted. Once that happens, the fibroids disappear.
Acupuncture and Endometriosis-
Every month the endometrial layer grows inside the uterus and then it is shed. This is what prompts a period. However, sometimes, the layer may grow outside the uterus and when it comes to loose, the blood and shredded tissues have nowhere to go and that is why the adjacent tissues become inflamed. Here too, improved blood flow and normalizing the secretion of hormones can help deal with the symptoms of endometriosis.
Acupuncture can cure many gynaecological problems without triggering the dangerous side effects that result from traditional medicines. That is one reason why acupuncture is becoming more popular by the day.
Infertility is a bane that only a few couples can tide over in their lifetime. However, infertility is a comprehensive term and involves both men and women. Men can be infertile if they have a low sperm count or they have erectile dysfunction. However, infertility in women may have a number of dimensions.
There are so many factors at play in pregnancy that an obstacle at any stage can render a woman infertile. She may have lesser eggs in her ovary; she may have a problem with the pathway of the eggs; she may have a problem with the uterus or any other problem. Though there are treatments for infertility, they cannot guarantee a pregnancy. This is why there is a trend towards alternative medicine for infertility. Some of the ancient medicinal practices like Tai chi, Acupuncture, etc., have been found to be beneficial in treating infertility in some cases. Among these practices, acupuncture is found to be a special mention.
Acupuncture involves inserting needles in specific sites of the body to cure ailments by unlocking blocked energy channels. It works by rectifying endocrine abnormalities, reducing stress, and increasing blood flow to different organs. This implies that if infertility arises out of any of these problems, acupuncture may be able to treat it.
Acupuncture Treatment for Infertility-
Treatment of infertility by acupuncture involves de-stressing, removal of hormonal imbalance, and increasing flow of blood to reproductive organs.
De-Stressing to Enhance Chances of Fertility-
Stress may well be one of the factors precipitating infertility. This is true for men as well as women. It has indeed been corroborated by modern medicine. Stress leads to the release of a de-stressing hormone called Cortisol which may contribute to low sperm count in male. In the female reproductive system, stress may play out in different ways. It may contribute to a lack of ovulation of egg follicles, failure of the eggs to move, etc.
Acupuncture has been found to be quite helpful in de-stressing. If needles are inserted at proper places, the body can release endorphins. Endorphins are mood alleviating hormones which combat stress and help men and women de-stress.
Rectifying Hormonal Imbalance-
One of the factors responsible for infertility is the low level of progesterone. It may reduce ovulation of egg follicles and thereby prevent pregnancy. In men too, hormonal imbalance may lead to less sperm production. However, it can be rectified to some extent by acupuncture. Studies have suggested that acupuncture may stimulate different endocrine glands like hypothalamus and pituitary to produce or reduce specific hormones and impact infertility.
Increasing the Flow of Blood-
Lack of flow of blood to female reproductive organs like the uterus, the ovaries, or fallopian tubes can cause infertility. In men too, lack of flow of blood may lead to erectile dysfunction or low sperm count. It has been observed that needles pierced at specific points may aid blood flow. This can rejuvenate the organs suffering from lack of blood and enhance the chances of fertility.
Disc prolapse – or what is popularly known as a herniated disc – occurs when the soft, rubbery tissues of the spinal discs push through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. It usually results from wear and tear of the spinal discs over time.
The following factors may put you at risk of a disc prolapse –
• Genetics – You may have a tendency towards developing a disc prolapse
• Occupation – People who are engaged in physically demanding jobs are more likely to develop back pain
• Weight – Excessive body weight puts pressure on the discs in the lower back
Signs to Watch Out for-
Signs and symptoms of disc prolapsed may include the following –
• Pain in the legs, particularly in the calf, thigh, and buttocks
• Pain in the arms and shoulder that intensify when you sneeze, cough, or even move your spine into certain positions
• Tingling or numbness in the affected areas
• Muscle weakness
• Inability to hold an object
If the pain deteriorates i.e. if the pain shoots down from your back or neck to the extremities, consult a doctor immediately.
Acupuncture for Disc Prolapse-
Although there are certain non-surgical and surgical treatment methods, many healthcare professionals and doctors nowadays recommend acupuncture as an alternative cure.
Acupuncture refers to an alternative treatment procedure in which needles are pierced at certain specific points in your body known as energy lines or meridians, in the process, to treat a health condition. Acupuncture is used to treat different kinds of health problems. Hair loss is a very distressing problem for men and women alike.
There are many causes that can be responsible for your hair loss such as:
There are different treatment methods that can help you to deal with your problem of hair loss such as Ayurveda, homeopathy, allopathy or conventional methods and other home remedies. But if nothing works for you, you can try this alternative treatment method of acupuncture. Acupuncture offers effective remedies for combating your problem of hair loss. The following are some of the treatment methods:
Acupuncture treatment for hair loss is definitely effective but is very time-consuming. So you must be very patient throughout your treatment process to get the desired results.
Sometimes, people go to any extreme to lose weight. Fad diets are the rage nowadays. These diets usually stress on consuming only one food group over the others. This leads to a severe lack of important nutrients, leading to severe imbalances in your body. Acupuncture, in tandem with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), can do wonders for your weight loss program. Together, they try to address both psychological and physiological problems. The therapy handles issues regarding digestion, emotions, appetite, metabolism and cravings.
In TCM, malfunctions in the spleen and liver cause imbalances in the body, which lead to excessive weight gain. The spleen transforms the food we eat into Qi—the key substance of life, and the liver maintains the flow of blood and Qi. If these two are affected, then imbalances occur in the body. Thus, the focus of TCM and acupuncture lies therein.
In acupuncture, the ear is considered to be the main point in the body, with respect to weight. The ear affects other points in the body. These points are called the auricular points. Some common auricular points include:
Shen men (ear-point): to calm the mind and reduce stress
Small intestine: for spleen reinforcement and promotion of digestion
Hunger point: to subdue hunger and manage to overeat
Endocrine point: activates liver Qi and helps metabolic functions
With these, the right diet should be followed as well. The food and herbs are chosen for treatment aid in hunger, digestion, improving Qi, augmenting removal of toxins and waste products from the body and bettering metabolism. Step up the intake of bitter, acrid and sour foods, whereas, greasy, salty and sweet foods should be avoided.
Along with the right foods, exercise is a must. Abdominal massages can provide good stimulation.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you lose weight safely, either by itself or combined with other weight loss programs.
That overwhelmed feeling that you wake up to every day - a feeling of suppressed anger together with acute feelings of low self-esteem - is the indicator of a growing health issue that affects 9 out of 10 individuals worldwide. The expectations from personal as well as professional front add up to stress, anxiety and consequently depression that can have hazardous health effects if the warning signs are ignored.
Conventional treatment practices suggest the use of drugs and consultation sessions, which is associated with sluggishness, decreased efficiency, and often shame. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a wonderful alternative to the conventional path, with people reporting a marked improvement in their mental and physical health in just one session.
Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are mental issues that often are ignored. It is crucial to detect the early signs of stress and identify the source to restore the well-being of both mind and body. The symptoms include -
How Acupuncture helps with stress and anxiety
• Acupuncture is a chinese practice that restores balance and calm in the mind and body. It involves a practitioner inserting needles at specific points in our body to redistribute and balance energy flow or qi and allow the body to heal from within.
• The natural healing response of the body is initiated due to increased blood flow resulting from the varying pressure of the various needles that are inserted into the body.
• Many people feel embarrassed to visit a consultant for mental health issues. Acupuncture is to be a better alternative for them and help them to address a variety of symptoms at the same time.
• Acupuncture helps in curing stress and anxiety by redistributing the energy flow within the body, unlike conventional medical practices that focus on reducing the activity of the nerve transmitters.
• Acupuncture is not associated with the side effects typically accompanying anti-depressant medication, such as sluggishness, addiction etc.
• The role of the acupuncturist is crucial in the treatment of stress and anxiety as the efficiency of a session depends on the correct identification of the underlying cause.
Mental health issues remain taboo in large parts of the world, with 75% of suffering individuals who feel ashamed to discuss their concerns. Making healthy choices in life is something everyone owes to himself or herself for living a fulfilling life. However, stress and anxiety have become major roadblocks to this. It is your choice to either succumb to stress and anxiety or start making healthy choices by booking yourself a session with a licensed acupuncturist and being on your path to a rewarding life.
Blood pressure problems trouble every third human being down the street; a thorough survey could affirm the aforementioned statement. While mild fluctuations can be tackled through medication, the secondary health issues triggered by high or low blood pressure can aggravate to make treatment a little problematic.
Increased or decreased blood pressure levels could be indicative of underlying health problems and could also be the cause of severe ailments. Medical assistance should thus be sought at the earliest possible.
Many kinds of treatments are available at your disposal but it would indeed be wise for you to opt for an alternative branch of medicine that not only helps you regulate blood pressure in emergency situations, but also helps you maintain a level close to the optimum. Acupuncture owes its roots to traditional Chinese medicine and is a tried and tested alternative solution to the curse of increased or decreased blood pressure levels.
How is Acupuncture helpful: