Here is a great article about acupuncture from the Telegraph Journal.
Stick it to whatever ails you
January 2nd, 2010
What do Cher, Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams and Titan, the world’s tallest dog, have in common? Like more than 20 million Americans and Canadians, they’re on pins and needles. Acupuncture needles, that is.
This therapy involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to treat countless problems, ranging from easing chronic pain and insomnia to reducing the side effects of cancer treatments and helping smokers quit. Acupuncture’s been around longer than 60 Minutes has been airing: Archeologists have unearthed 5,000-year-old stone needles in Inner Mongolia.
But we like this popular form of energy medicine because it’s backed by an impressive body of 21st-century research. Energy medicine? Yes, it seems to change the electric currents or nerve impulses in your body. And often, acupuncture can help when drugs can’t be tolerated or when conventional treatments fail. It’s a team player that works well alongside other treatments – an integrated approach used successfully for everything from sinusitis and allergies to infertility, asthma and beyond. One of us – Mehmet – even uses acupuncture as an add-on treatment during open-heart surgery, and the other – Mike – uses it to treat chronic pain as well as pain and nausea post surgery.
Here’s what acupuncture has been clearly shown to help so far – other studies are ongoing, so expect to see this list grow:
* Peaceful sleep. Just months ago, a Hong Kong University study of 60 insomniacs found that those who got acupuncture fell asleep faster and were more likely to stay that way (instead of waking up at 4 a.m. to worry about the stock market) than those who got a fake version of the treatment.
* Relief from arthritis. British researchers who analyzed five well-designed studies of 1,334 people with bum knees have confirmed that acupuncture relieves debilitating joint pain related to arthritis.
* Squelching pain. In a landmark German study of 1,162 back-pain sufferers, twice as many got relief from acupuncture as from conventional fixes such as drugs or physical therapy. Acupuncture also has been proven at least as effective as pain drugs not only for treating migraines, but for preventing them, too – making it a great choice if you can’t tolerate the side effects of migraine-preventing meds like beta blockers.
*Reducing treatment side effects. Dozens of studies show that acupuncture helps quell pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes and dry mouth in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation.
How can one therapy do so much? Eastern and Western medical philosophies merge when a licensed acupuncturist inserts those sterile, disposable needles – painlessly, we promise! – into your skin. Eastern practitioners say the needles remove blockages so that the body’s energy, called qi (pronounced “chee”) flows freely. Western science shows that acupuncture boosts levels of pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory chemicals called endorphins in the brain and bloodstream. And that changes how your nerve impulses flow.
You don’t even have to believe in it for acupuncture to work its magic. Case in point: Veterinarians know that acupuncture often helps ailing horses, goats, cats and dogs (including Titan, the world’s biggest Great Dane) in measurable ways – such as being able to walk and run again. With animals, there’s no placebo effect. It either works or it doesn’t. Same goes for people. Many skeptical consumers who’ve tried acupuncture as a last resort become believers when they see results.
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