Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain from a wide range of conditions, and its low risk profile makes it an important component of comprehensive acute-care strategies. It’s especially valuable for pain conditions, including migraine headaches and back and neck pain, as well as reducing the need for opioid medications.Source: familyintegrativemedicine.com
What is the main purpose of acupuncture?
A session of acupuncture typically lasts about 1 hour, and it usually starts with an assessment of your condition and physical exam. Your practitioner will then insert needles into specific points, which are called acupuncture points. These needles are much thinner than medical needles, and they’re solid rather than hollow. You’ll feel a small prick with each needle, but it’s often less painful than a vaccination or blood draw. Acupuncture needles are also single-use and disposed of immediately after use.
Some studies have suggested that acupuncture works by activating the release of adenosine, a chemical in the brain that blocks pain signals. But those findings don’t necessarily mean that acupuncture actually reduces pain. For one thing, adenosine might be released by a hard pinch or a certain type of pressure, and these effects would have nothing to do with acupuncture itself.
Research also suggests that acupuncture may help with a number of other health problems, including seasonal allergy symptoms, stress incontinence in women, and nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. However, more study is needed to determine whether these effects are due to a placebo effect or a real physiological change in central nervous system processing of pain and other sensations.