The origins of acupuncture can be traced back over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest health care systems in the world. Today, acupuncture supports the treatment of a wide number of conditions.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of fine, sterile, single-use, disposable needles into specific sites (acupuncture points) along the body’s energy pathways (meridians) to clear energy blockages and encourage the normal flow of energy, or Qi, through the body.
The practitioner may also stimulate the acupuncture points using other methods, including acupressure, moxibustion, cupping, laser therapy, electro-stimulation and massage, in order to rebalance the flow of qi.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
- focuses on drug-free pain relief
- can be effective in the treatment of acute and chronic ailments as shown in research studies which have been collated in the Acupuncture Evidence Project.
- takes a holistic approach by addressing the underlying cause of the condition, as well as the symptoms. The approach links body, mind and emotions.
- assists in the prevention of disease and the maintenance of general well-being
Is there any evidence that acupuncture works?
The Acupuncture Evidence Project was published in 2017. It is a review of the evidence supporting the efficacy of acupuncture currently available.
Of the 122 conditions reviewed, evidence of effect was found at various levels for 117 conditions. The findings of the review include:
- Conditions with strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture included allergic rhinitis (perennial & seasonal), knee osteoarthritis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (with anti-emetics), migraine prophylaxis, chronic low back pain, postoperative nausea & vomiting, headache (tension-type and chronic) and postoperative pain.
- Conditions with moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture included acute low back pain, acute stroke, neck pain, obesity, anxiety, peri-menopausal and postmenopausal insomnia, asthma in adults, post-traumatic stress disorder, constipation, hypertension (with medication), irritable bowel syndrome and menopausal hot flushes.
This blog was brought to you by Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association