Acupuncture is an alternative method of treatment for many diseases which originated in China at least 2000 years ago and is still in practice. The practice of acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles through the patientís skin at specific pressure points and at various depths stimulating the nervous system and thus the body to treat diseases. In modern times acupuncture is mostly used as a complementary treatment to alleviate pain and stress apart from the normal course of treatment a patient is receiving.
Acupuncture had been used throughout the region of China for over two millenniaís and traditionally it has been the method of treatment for the Chinese people for this long time. However, at the beginning of this century acupuncture was slowly abandoned as the Chinese people opted for advanced medical treatments. Acupuncture was revived during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s when Chinaís communist leader, Mao Zedong began promoting traditional medical treatments along with acupuncture as a logical solution to provide the huge population of china with health care.
In Chinese tradition people used to believe that our bodies have a natural flow of energy which was known as "qi". They also believed when this flow of energy or qi was disrupted it caused problems in the body in the form of diseases. They thus acupuncture to stimulate certain pressure points under the skin called acupressure points releasing this qi which then traveled through channels called meridians as the flow of energy or qi became stable again the body healed.
However, modern treatments of acupuncture carried out in the hospitals and health centers are not based on this philosophy. Western scientists have been trying to study the mechanism of acupuncture for quite some time now and has come up with quite a few hypothesizes till now. One major hypothesis is that acupuncture works through the neurohormonal pathways. This hypothesis indicates that by putting the needles at certain points in the nervous system it triggers the brain to release neural hormones and thus alleviating the pain. Another major hypothesis is that acupuncture works by reducing pro-inflammatory markers which in turn reduces pain.
As the study of the methodology and effectiveness of acupuncture goes on many mainstream doctors and medical institutions have started to use the practice of acupuncture. Even though the model of how acupuncture works hasnít been established yet, however, the effectiveness of acupuncture in dealing pain and nausea cannot be ignored and thus is slowly being accepted as a standard medical practice in the modern medical community.
Many researches have conclusively proven acupuncture's effectiveness in alleviating pain and nausea particularly in cancer patients who suffer from after effects of regular chemo sessions. Further research is being conducted to see if acupuncture can be used to treat depression, sleep disturbance and drug addiction.
Acupuncture is now being accepted as effective throughout the world by the medical community. However, it is still used as a complementary treatment paired with the standard course of treatment. With advances in research it is believed that very soon acupuncture can be used to treat major diseases.