Acupuncture has become more mainstream in recent years. It was reported that in 2007 3.1 million tried acupuncture compared to 2002 when only approximately 2 million people reportedly tried it.. Acupuncture reportedly originated from ancient China but its evolutions there are unclear. It made its great exposure in the West in 1971, when NYT reporter James Reston received acupuncture for post-operative pain.

Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific acupoints along the skin of the body. Practitioners utilize approximately five to twenty needles inserted in various places. The needles vary in length between .5 to 5 inches. These are usually disposable and thrown away after uses. For the majority of cases, these needles will stay in places for 10 to 20 minutes.

The theory behind acupuncture is all based on Qi. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi is an energy which regulates all bodily functions. Acupuncture attempts to correct imbalances in the flow of this energy by stimulation of certain anatomical locations. More modern practitioners have abandoned the view on Qi, and instead have chosen to focus the analgesic effects of acupuncture as caused by the release of endorphins.

In recent years two leading medical rationalists, pharmacologist David Colquhoun and neurologist Steven Novella, published in the journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia stating that “the benefits of acupuncture are likely nonexistent, or at best are too small and too transient to be of any clinical significance, It seems that acupuncture is little or no more than a theatrical placebo.”

Studies in the past have shown that there is no evidence a force called qi exists or that there are any flowing energy lines. However, there has been some evidence that the needles do trigger pain-numbing chemicals. There is also the fact that any medical intervention can relieve symptoms simply because a patient is receiving attention from a doctor. The placebo effect can be a very real effect, which continues to make research into acupuncture more difficult.

Should you receive acupuncture treatment in today’s world? That remains up for debate. However some acupuncturists may make a series of claim that may be completely false. Do your research beforehand in order to make an informed decision.

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