Practiced for thousands of years in China, and now established in the Western world, today this alternative therapy, which consists in inserting thin needles into various parts of the patient’s body, is universally respected – but does acupuncture work?
Practitioners believe it can cure a whole variety of ailments, from diabetes to depression to nausea and can even help you quit smoking or lose weight. Although there hasn’t been much research in the effectiveness of acupuncture, as with other forms of natural medicine, recent studies are starting to show that there is actually real benefit to using acupuncture.
Studies are starting to show that acupuncture can be very effective at reducing nausea. A review study in 2004 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong concluded that wrist acupuncture at a certain acupoint (a labelled point where a needle is inserted) was more effective at reducing nausea than antiemitics, but did not seem to reduce vomiting. There appear to be generally positive studies which show that acupuncture can help with chronic pain relief. A 2007 study at the Peninsula Medical School found that acupuncture treatment can reduce chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis. Other studies show that acupuncture is better than other natural medicine treatments for back pain.
Other review studies for ailments such as depression, insomnia, smoking cessation, dementia, and chronic asthma have stated that there hasn’t been enough high quality research to determine how well acupuncture is at treating them. However, new medical research is being conducted every year to help us understand what ailments acupuncture is most effective to treat.
Acupuncture as an alternative medicine shows a lot of promise. But what”s clear is that Ancient China’s acupuncturists knew what they were doing, and you can still find acupuncture maps showing dozens of acupoints all over the body and what they were supposed to treat. Millions of people around the world are being successfully treated with acupuncture, and the medical community is starting to become more accepting of acupuncture and natural medicine in general.