Traditional Chinese Medicine Newsletter 5

Healing Through Acupuncture

For over two thousand years, the Chinese practice of acupuncture has been used in the treatment of all- round health problems. While it is not a guaranteed cure for disease, it has been known to help in relieving pain and enhancing the speed of recovery for several ailments.

Before embarking on a course of acupuncture, get a clear diagnosis so that the complaint can be properly treated. For cases where Western medicine offers an excellent form of therapy, do not insist on relying on acupuncture alone.

Acupuncture is commonly used to relieve pain. Sports injuries or sprains usually respond well to acupuncture. The main advantage of treating these acute pains with acupuncture is that chronic pain can be avoided and the healing process can be more effective. Pain caused by headaches and migraines can be relieved with acupuncture. In many cases, the headaches vanish completely, or occur with a markedly decreased intensity and frequency. This can sometimes be maintained for some years and re-treatment is usually required less frequently for headaches than for other conditions.

If you suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis, acupuncture may be your answer to feeling better. Acupuncture causes the contracted muscular walls to dilate and helps decrease the frequency and intensity of asthmatic attacks. It also works to unblock breathing tubes and allow more air to enter the lungs.

Caffeine, alcohol, stress and smoking are some of the excesses of a hectic lifestyle which could lead to the development of ulcers. Ulcers in the stomach or duodenum are caused by the presence of a high acid level in the stomach. Acupuncture can help reduce this acidity and help in the healing of such ulcers.If you have ever experienced chest pains when you exercise, you may have angina. Angina is a type of ‘cramp’ in the heart muscles, precipitated by a poor blood supply to the heart. Acupuncture helps to improve this condition by increasing the functional ability and efficiency of the heart muscles.

Stroke patients may find scalp and body acupuncture helpful in aiding recovery. They work to increase the blood supply to the brain, and this seems to improve functional ability and act as a stimulus to recovery after a stroke. The patient may continue to benefit for up to two years after the stroke but, as a rule, acupuncture can effect little improvement if the damage has been present for more than two years.

Apart from physical healing, acupuncture has also been beneficial in treating mental conditions such as anxiety attacks, depression and insomnia. It works by effecting mood changes resulting in a feeling of general well-being.

It is believed that withdrawal symptoms experienced by people giving up smoking and drugs or dieting can be alleviated by raising the levels of endorphins in the nervous system. The use of ear acupuncture appears to increase endorphin levels throughout the nervous system and decrease the desire to smoke or eat. However, it must be stressed that acupuncture cannot replace willpower. It can only help the withdrawal symptoms, or hunger pains, experienced by those already motivated and committed to solving their particular problem.