Acupuncture has been a vehicle for relieving pain for centuries, especially in the East. It has worked wonders for millions of people across the world for generations. It has received acclaim from those seeking relief from headaches, lower back pain, joint pain and even emotional problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. But what exactly the science is behind the practice has mystified many for generations.
The first indication of the practice dates back around 3500 years to ancient China. The origin is believed to come from soldiers under the Han Dynasty who were impaled by arrows. Reportedly they claimed tension and pain relief after their wounds had healed. As legend has it, this gave rise to the practice with the intention of relieving pain.
In the early 1970’s when it was popular in the United States to practice more open-mindedness toward other cultures, Americans were increasingly fascinated by the practice. Acupuncture was brought to the States through Nixon’s relations with China. But as the practice moved westward, our over rationalizing brains wanted answers on how exactly the practice works. Our questions stem from the need to understand the logistics behind how puncturing needles could actually relieve tension and pain. One explanation from a western viewpoint is acupuncture triggers neurotransmitters in the brain to release the chemical messengers dopamine and serotonin, which are the bodies natural pain relievers.
This highly subjective practice is based on the practitioner’s intuition, training and experience. The best locations for the needles are based on what area the patient is experiencing discomfort or pain. Distal points along the energy pathways, points with therapeutic indications for pain relief, and local points are used. Acupuncture is effective for physically relieving tension in the muscles and reducing inflammation.
There are many theories on exactly how this works, and even some theories writing the practice of acupuncture off as ineffective or placebo. The fact is that many patients feel great relief from tension and pain, while only a few do not have desired results.
Completely ineffective practices, however, do not tend to live on for thousands of years. So the proof of acupuncture’s effectiveness is reflected in it’s longevity as an alternative medicine form. Acupuncture has helped thousands of patients…and it can help you too!