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Acupuncture is a practice that has been used in China and across Asia for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the most popular and effective natural therapies across the world. Acupuncture is the main component of the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which also includes the use of tui na (Chinese remedial massage), cupping and moxibustion.
Acupuncture is a holistic approach to the treatment and prevention of a range of diseases. The treatment involves the insertion of fine and sterile needles into specific points on the body. The points belong to meridians that cover the entire body, and applying acupuncture to a combination of these points are used to treat different illnesses.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses the concept of Qi, or life force, to understand the body's state of health. Qi flows along the meridians throughout the body and illness or pain occurs when the Qi is blocked or imbalanced. The use of acupuncture to stimulate points is believe to remove obstruction of Qi and promote the free flowing of Qi.
Physiologically, the effects of acupuncture can be explained by the stimulation of nerves and connective tissue, increase blood flow to muscles and tendons and reduced inflammation. Acupuncture has also been proven to increase the production of the hormone oxytocin, which is the body's natural pain killer.
Acupuncture can also affect the body's homeostasis. This refers the body's ability to regulate its internal environment and maintain balance. All diseases and illness can be traced to a disturbance of homeostasis. If pain, inflammation and homeostasis is at the root of all illness then we can begin to see how acupuncture can be effective for a number of conditions.
If your practitioner is unskilled, acupuncture has the potential to be harmful.
If a practitioner uses an unsterilised needle, bacteria can cause a localised infection. There is also a small risk of contracting blood borne diseases if needles are reused. However, acupuncturists in Australia are required by the Skin Penetration Act to use single-use sterilised needles only. Ensure that your practitioner complies with this regulation.
With improper insertion or removal of the acupuncture needle, needles can become momentarily stuck but can be easily removed with mild manipulation to the muscle around the stuck needle, and this may lead to light bleeding and bruising in the area.
Despite these risks, when acupuncture is performed by a qualified and experienced practitioner, it is both safe and effective for a variety of conditions.
Neurological Conditions: These conditions include headaches, sleeplessness, migraines, stroke, nervous tension, facial, intercostal neuralgia, paralysis, neuropathy, poliomyelitis, noises in the ears, Meniere and dizziness.
Cardiovascular Disorders: It is good to treat high and low blood pressure, chest pain, fluid retention, poor circulation, angina pectoris, muscle cramps, cold hands and feet.
Respiratory Conditions: Acupuncture is helpful in the treatment of bronchial asthma, chronic and acute bronchitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, hay fever, cough, sore throat, laryngitis, cold and influenza.
Digestive System Disorders: It is helpful to treat a toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, oesophagus spasms, mouth ulcers, hiccough, gastric, gastritis, gastric hyperacidity, duodenal, ulcers, flatulence, heartburn, hiatus hernia turmoil, paralytic ileus, colitis, haemorrhoids, diarrhoea, gallbladder disorders, constipation, liver and weight loss.
Urogenital Disorders: It is good to treat cystitis, orchitis, prostatitis, urinary retention, low sexual vitality, nocturnal enuresis, kidney disorders, and neurogenic bladder disorder.
Gynaecological and Obstetric Diseases: acupuncture is equally good for the treatment of premenstrual tension, pain, irregular bleeding, and absence of periods, abnormal menstrual bleeding and discharge, menopause, hormonal disturbances, prolapse of bladder or uterus, morning sickness and the problem with conception.
Skin Problems: It is good for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, nerve rash, acne, herpes zoster, scar tissue, hair loss, dandruff and resultant adhesions.
Eye Problems: It is good for the treatment of visual disorders, sore, red, watery and itchy eyes, conjunctivitis, cataracts, central retinitis and myopia in children.
Musculoskeletal Disorders: With the help of acupuncture, you can treat osteoarthritis, lumbago, sciatica, weak back, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, gout, pain in shoulder and neck, tenosynovitis, cervicobrachial disease, tennis elbow and frozen shoulder.
Sporting Injuries: You can treat sprained knees and ankles, corking, cartilage problems and torn muscles, bruises and torn ligaments.
Psychological Conditions: Acupuncture is good to treat depression, emotional disturbances, phobias, anxiety, addictions (smoking and alcohol) and nervousness.