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              Dr Nancy administering acupuncture on the neck (left) and on the arm (right)

Acupuncture originated in China over 5,000 years ago. It is based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of qi (also referred to as chi), the vital energy present in all living organisms. According to acupuncture theory, qi circulates in the body along 12 major energy pathways called meridians, each linked to specific internal organs and organ systems.

There are over 1000 acupoints within the meridian system that can be stimulated to enhance the flow of qi. When special needles are inserted into the acupoints (just under the skin), they help correct and rebalance the flow of energy and consequently relieve pain and restore health.

Acupuncture alleviates pain and can increase immune system response by balancing the flow of vital energy through the body. It is an element of traditional Chinese medicine that in the West is often used as a stand-alone treatment for a wide range of disease conditions from the common cold to addiction and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also effective as an adjunct treatment for AIDS.

WHO has cited over 40 conditions that acupuncture can treat, including migraines, sinusitis, the common cold, tonsillitis, asthma, inflammation of the eyes, addictions, myopia, duodenal ulcer and other gastrointestinal disorders, trigeminal neuralgia (severe facial pain), miner's disease (ringing in the ears with dizziness), tennis elbow, paralysis from stroke, speech aphasia (loss of language abilities due to brain damage), sciatica, and osteo arthritis.

Acupuncture is very effective in the treatment of a variety of rheumatoid conditions and brings relief in 80% of those who suffer from arthritis. It is also valuable in environmentally induced illnesses due to radiation, pesticide poisoning, toxic compounds and air pollution. It is also found effective in stroke rehabilitation, headaches, addiction, menstrual cramps, fibromualgia, low back pain and asthma. Even in acute abdominal problems such as appendicitis or kidney stone and gallstone attack, acupuncture can be used before surgery to arrest the condition before it progresses further. It used in immune system of dysfunction, respiratory disease and hormonal imbalances that lead to menstrual irregularities and menopause related problems, anxiety and sleep disorders.

It has proven to be a successful treatment for pain relief. It can reduce the need for traditional painkilling drugs. It reduces the need for alcohol, reports the British Journal, ‘The Lancet’.

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Last modified: 06/06/13