Acupuncture is a component of traditional Chinese medicine. It is the application of solid needles to specific points around the body to relieve pain and nausea. Historical artifacts of needle like stones have been discovered in China, indicating that acupuncture has been practiced since ancient times.
Acupuncture was first introduced to North America during Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1971 when a reporter for the New York Times was given acupuncture after having an emergency surgery. Modern acupuncture may involve insertion of very fine needles through the skin, or placing TENS or a low power laser over various points found on the body.
Anatomical acupuncture is a more modern approach used by some acupuncture therapists. Clinical studies have shown an 80 % success rate for symptom relief when treated with acupuncture. It has also been indicated that acupuncture may be even more effective when combined with other treatment techniques. Acupuncture works by causing the release of the body’s natural pain killers “endorphins”, which blocks pain messages from being sent to the brain and influences the nervous system.
The sensation experienced with acupuncture varies from patient to patient, but has very few adverse affects or risks. A wide variety of symptoms may be successfully treated with acupuncture and it is often used by physiotherapists in conjunction with manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.