Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treat patients by manipulating thin, solid needles that have been inserted into acupoints (“Tsubo” in Japanese) in the skin.
Acupuncture is a holistic therapy and it can treat a wide range of different conditions that manifest physically, mentally and spiritually and may be acute or chronic.
Much research has been carried out into the effects of acupuncture and the World Health Organization (WHO) lists many conditions that acupuncture can treat (vide infra).
Acupuncture is known to have effects on secretions known as endorphins, which can relieve pain. Subsequent studies have also shown many other beneficial effects of acupuncture such as balancing the autonomic nervous system, immune system and endocrine system.
According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) 2001,
■ 28 conditions that acupuncture has been proved to treat effectively:
Adverse reactions to radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy
Dysmenorrhea (period pains)
Acute epigastric pain
Induction of labor
Low back pain
Malposition of the fetus in pregnancy
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in dentistry
Post operative pain
Arthritis of the shoulder
■ Some of the 63 conditions where acupuncture has been shown to be effective but further proof is needed:
‘Competition stress’ syndrome
Herpes zoster (shingles)
Male sexual dysfunction
Meniere’s disease (severe attacks of dizziness and ringing in the ears)
Cocaine and heroin dependence
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
Recurrent lower urinary tract infection
Retention of urine
Ulcerative colitis (inflammation and ulceration in the large intestine)