Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese procedure of piercing the skin with needles in order to prevent or treat disease. As early as the Stone Age, “bian” or stone needles were found in caves. Today, needles are made from stainless steel and vary in length and thickness according to the area being treated. All practitioners now use sterile disposable needles.
Acupuncture is used for both healing and pain relief. Very fine needles are inserted into points located on one of the 14 meridians or channels of the body. According to traditional Chinese theory, Qi (pronounced chee) or energy flows through these channels. Modern research has found that the meridians are closely related to the nerves which stimulate reflex pathways via the autonomic nervous system controlling functions such as digestion, peristalsis and heart rate.
In addition bio-chemical changes have been found in the blood of research subjects after receiving acupuncture. Endorphins and enkephalins are morphine-like substances provide a sense of well-being and pain relief. This is most likely one of the reasons for the analgesic effect of acupuncture. Another reason was proposed by Melzak and Hall and is known as the Gate theory. This theory proposed that the stimulation of the faster and longer nerve fibers block the pain stimulus of the smaller and slower nerve fibers traveling up the spinal cord.
Acupuncture has a balancing effect on many bodily functions helping the body to return to a state of homeostasis thus needling certain points can decrease hyperacidity while other points can increase the acidity.
Addictions such as smoking, cravings for food, sugar or drugs can be helped using auriculotherapy.
The number of treatments needed depends on the particular problem and the chronicity of the condition. The longer the patient has had a condition the longer the treatment period.