Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a treatment system that has been tried and tested for over 2000 years. TCM assumes that the human life energy (Qi) flows along the body in pathways, the so-called meridians. There are over 360 acupuncture points on the 12 main meridians, which are stimulated during acupuncture (Latin acus = needle, pungere = prick) with the help of thin needles.

Acupuncture: The Needling

Acupuncture Needles are widely available. It can be purchased online at GulfPhysio. Acupuncture needles are thin, sharp, solid needles that are inserted into the skin at specific points on the body. These needles are used to ease tension, swelling, and pain. In the hands of skilled people, they can be used as physiotherapy aids for blocking pain and relieving ligaments.

The “needling” of the precisely defined acupuncture points activates and strengthens the body’s own self-healing powers and thus helps to maintain health and alleviate or heal illnesses. The effects of acupuncture on the body are complex. It could be scientifically proven (see below) e.g. B. a positive influence on the nervous, hormone and immune system, blood circulation, and much more.

The nerve stimuli emanating from the needles inhibit the transmission of pain signals, lead to an increased release of endogenous pain-relieving substances (endorphins), and work with the help of released messenger substances (neurotransmitters). ) on distant organs and relax the vascular system, the connective tissue, and the muscles.

Acupuncture and other forms of TCM

Acupuncture is also used particularly successfully in combination with other Chinese therapy methods such as Chinese drug therapy, moxibustion, Chinese nutritional therapy, Tuina, Tai Qi, and Qi Gong.

In addition to the Chinese acupuncture with needles described here, there are numerous special forms. These include e.g. B. limited to certain areas of the body forms. B. ear acupuncture according to Nogier/Bahr, Japanese acupuncture, Korean hand acupuncture, or skull acupuncture according to Yamamoto.

In addition, there are “needle-free variants” for stimulating acupuncture points, such as electroacupuncture according to Voll (EAV), laser acupuncture, color acupuncture, Penzel acupuncture massage, acupressure, Tuina or moxibustion.

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Acupuncture: Contraindications/contraindications, side effects, and risks

Acupuncture is not suitable as the sole therapy for severe, serious illnesses. Nevertheless, acupuncture can often also be used in these cases in consultation with the treating naturopath or doctor.

Acupuncture should not be used in severely debilitated patients and children under the age of 12; an exception is special acupuncture techniques such as B. Japanese children’s acupuncture. Certain skin diseases (e.g. eczema) at the local puncture sites, nerve diseases (e.g. sensory disorders), severe mental illnesses (e.g. psychoses), or epilepsy usually rule out treatment.

If mother and child are healthy, pregnancy is no longer considered a contraindication. However, certain hormonal or labor-stimulating points must not be treated.

In general, when used properly, there are hardly any side effects. With the use of disposable needles or correctly sterilized gold or silver needles, infection with infectious diseases can be virtually ruled out.

To be on the safe side, people with very low blood pressure or a tendency to collapse should lie down during the acupuncture treatment – as is often the case anyway – and then rest for a while. The puncture itself may be painful, bleed minimally, and a hematoma (bruise) may form at the puncture site.

Alternative Medicine (Acupuncture, Homeopathy, etc) in Science

Alternative medicine has long since established itself as a serious branch of medicine. However, in addition to scientifically recognized methods, there are also plenty of therapies that are ineffective.

Homeopathy, acupuncture, hydro- and phytotherapy are among the best-known methods of alternative medicine. But leech therapy, biofeedback, and spiritual healing are those known to be ineffective but also fall under this generic term.

Alternative medicine – Holistic view

The holistic view of man is typical of many methods in alternative medicine. This means that the therapists do not see the individual illnesses in isolation, but include the whole person and also the psyche.

However, all therapies – and this also applies to the established methods such as phytotherapy and homeopathy – have something in common: With a few exceptions, their benefits have not been scientifically proven.

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Alternative medicine in science

Alternative medicine practitioners attach great importance to the fact that the methods with which they work have a scientific basis. Research is therefore being carried out on the topic at many renowned clinics such as the Charité in Berlin. There are now several chairs that deal with complementary medicine.

Acupuncture: Is it effective?

Acupuncture is the front runner among the subjects of study. But despite a few hundred studies on the subject, there are no clear results.

Apparently, treatment with acupuncture needles is particularly effective for back pain and migraines. However, according to previous knowledge, it does not matter at which points the needles are pricked.

That would mean that the meridians – the imaginary lines on our body on which the needles are placed depending on the complaint – have no meaning.

This is supported by the thesis that the meridians are merely a theoretical construct that goes back to the course of the rivers and roads of the Chinese Empire but has no medical relevance.

The dispute over homeopathy

Homeopathy is far more controversial than acupuncture. While there are ardent followers of this teaching, many scientists question the therapeutic benefits of the homeopathic little pills called “globules”.

Homeopathy was founded by the German doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755 to 1843). He assumed that things can be healed with like things. For example, if a patient has watery eyes, they are given a cure that will cause these symptoms in a healthy person.

The second characteristic of homeopathy is the strong dilution of the medicines. For critics, this is an important argument in the discussion about effectiveness. Because the active ingredient itself is often no longer detectable in the drugs.

Although homeopathy is in the crossfire, there are more than 6000 doctors in Germany alone who work according to homeopathic teaching.