Acupuncture is now being used in modern medicine, but it is certainly not new.
Starting with moxabustion, surface stimulation dated back thousands of years, at least 4,000. Sparks from the campfire that may have landed on specific points on the bodies surrounding the fire, and then symptoms were noted to improve. Some accounts postulate that arrows in battle could have curative powers when they landed on certain precise points of the body. Soon the local medicine men were mapping the spots on the skin that corresponded with various symptoms, from headaches to back pain, insomnia, and even asthma.
Medical acupuncturists today use sterile needles made of surgical quality stainless steel, then dispose of each needle after a single use. Placement is done into precise points of anatomy, as indicated by the clinical findings, or images from appropriate X-rays, sonograms, or MRI’s. If a problem is superficial then a shallow needle placement is sufficient; if the problem is several inches beneath the surface, then a correspondingly longer needle is needed. Deep needle techniques are best left to those MD’s or chiropractors who are fully trained in the underlying anatomy.
One of the great uses for acupuncture is to treat modern stress, including anxiety, or burn-out.
How does it work? By releasing endorphin from the pituitary gland, acupuncture provides an excellent pain relief. This chemical is natural, and is supposed to be released every day to help us overcome pains. When severe injuries occur, then the body is overwhelmed, and natural endorphin production wilts. Acupuncture quickly restores this, and gives a surge of even higher levels than normal. This explains why surgery can be done on patients using just a couple of acupuncture needles for anesthesia.
In addition, acupuncture also promotes the release of the body’s own anti-inflammatory, cortisone. (This by the simultaneous release of ACTH and endorphin from the pituitary; the latter goes to the adrenal glands to release natural cortisone). That finally explains why acupuncture can dramatically save an asthmatic from needing more intervention for an acute episode. It also explains why acupuncture can lead to a complete cure of many pains, because it also cures the underlying inflammation that causes the pain. Much better than just a few hours of relief from codeine, and without any addictive properties or other side effects.
So the next time your doctor suggests acupuncture for you, keep an open mind. It seems that alongside modern diagnostic and therapeutic tools, acupuncture needles indeed have a point!