In traditional Chinese medicine, a lot of techniques like acupuncture, moxibustion, acupressure, cupping etc., are mentioned for various medical uses. All these therapies are better known as alternative medicine in the rest of the world. Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine technique making use of very fine metallic needles inserted at fixed acupuncture points in the body. Acupuncture has been very popular in Asian countries and is now gaining reputation in Europe. Acupuncture generally does not have any side effects and has medicinal uses in mainly musculoskeletal, autoimmune, and nervous system disorders.
In this Chinese medical technique, needles are inserted at acupuncture points to stimulate those areas. Another form of acupuncture known as laser acupuncture is also getting popular these days owing to fewer side effects and being a noninvasive technique. This alternative medicine of acupuncture considers the flow of energy in many meridians in the body and advises to locate acupuncture points over these meridians to get desired results. In this alternative medicine, it is believed that the energy Qi flowing through body gets some disruptions thus causing diseases. Acupuncture makes use of this principle and relieves the disruption of energy by inserting needles at acupuncture points. These acupuncture points are mainly located at the energy meridians.
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Acupuncture can help reduce pain and elevate the pain threshold of body so very effectively in painful diseases. Major uses of this Chinese medicine technique are for some painful disorders like sprains, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, menstrual cramps, lower back ache, postoperative nausea and vomiting, dental pain, and side effects of cancer treatment. This therapy is better than conventional painkillers as they have a lot of side effects. This alternative medicine is thought to be safe and without any side effects. Serious side effects are rare but some other side effects like infections, swelling, scarring etc. were noted in some cases. But it will be true to say that side effects are rare if acupuncture is done by a well-trained practitioner.
It is recommended before starting any alternative medicine, to check the cure in conventional medicine and assess the risks and benefits associated with it. Initial research on the use of acupuncture in stroke and paralysis is showing positive results, but more studies in this area are needed for confirmation. Some studies support its use in depression, polycystic ovarian disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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