Acupuncture

Definition

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles on the body's surface in order to influence its physiological function.

Description

Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine's theory of 'qi' (pronounced chee) - a vital, constantly changing energy force believed to flow through the body. Imbalances in this
natural flow of energy are thought to cause disease conditions. Acupuncture aims to restore health by improving or restoring the flow of qi, which is thought to have a positive effect on a
patient's physiological, emotional and psychological functions

Qi is believed to flow through the body via 14 primary 'meridians' or channels. To strengthen the flow of qi or remove blockages in the flow of qi, an acupuncturist inserts a number of very
fine needles just under the skin at certain 'acupoints' along these meridians. There are thousands of acupoints along the meridians that represent the internal organs and other tissues. These
structures may be located some distance away from their particular acupoint. This means, for example, that vision problems may be treated by inserting needles into acupoints located on the
foot, which represent the eyes.

Acupuncturists use up to nine types of Acupuncture needles, which vary in length and width. Exacting methods are used to insert these needles and there are a variety of different angles at
which these needles are inserted, from 15 to 90 degrees, relative to the surface of the skin.

The basic properties of Acupuncture therapy are:
1. Analgesia i.e. pain relieving effects useful in variety of painful conditions.
2. Sedation or calming effects useful in epilepsy, insomnia and mental disease like mania and anxiety states.
3. Homeostasis, or maintaining the normal balance of the body.
4. Immunity improvement - better immunity and protection from infection

These properties can be used in a wide variety of conditions. Conditions commonly treated using Acupuncture include allergic rhinitis, osteoarthritis ,rheumatoid arthritis , migraine,
bronchial asthma, eczema , obesity ,diabetes , tinnitus , vertigo, sports injuries, post-operative pain relief and for pain relief during labour.

Studies based on Western-style science have not established how Acupuncture actually works, but several theories do exist. It is known that Acupuncture produces changes within nerves that
could promote pain relief and other changes in the body. These changes cause chemicals such as endorphins to be released, which are powerful pain suppressors.

Diet hints

Acupuncture is used to treat an extensive number of conditions. Always follow the diet hints your Health Professional recommends. For further information, check the information on the
Healthpoint for diet hints to suit your condition.

Notes

Acupuncture, when performed by licensed Practitioners, is generally a safe procedure. Some possible complications of Acupuncture are:
1. Pain: This is the most common complication. Pain can be caused by:
- Rusted, bent and stuck needles.
- Poor technique.
- Patient's nervousness.
- Improper posture.
- Insertion into a tendon.
2. Infection by Needles: If needles are re-used, proper sterilisation is vital, particularly with diseases like hepatitisand HIV being so common. Inadequate Sterilisation of needles or the
Acupuncturist not washing her/his hands can result in infection. Knee joints and the ear are areas where infection is likely to occur.
3. Fainting: Fear of the needles is the main reason for fainting before and during the procedure.
4. Bent Needles: A needle can bend while still pierced in the body or if the patient moves suddenly. It is very important to stay as still as possible when receiving Acupuncture treatment.

Pharmacist's advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
1) Ask your Pharmacist to recommend any vitamins or mineral supplements that may help your condition.
2) Pain from musculo-skeletal injuries may be alleviated using hot compresses or liniment. Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
3) If you require further information about your condition, see the relevant topic on the Healthpoint.

Disclaimer

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and should be used as a guide only. This information does not replace or substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before any action is taken based on the content of this webpage.

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