I get asked questions all the time about being an Acupuncturist. The two most common questions are: what are the benefits? And what does it treat? It’s not easy to answer these questions as the benefits are many, and it really can treat anything. So here is my best attempt at a bit of Acupuncture Q&A.
What are the benefits?
Acupuncture is a major component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world, and remains one of the primary healthcare systems in China. A natural form of healing, some of the more common benefits of Acupuncture include:
- drug-free pain relief;
- treatment of a wide range of acute and chronic ailments;
- treating the underlying cause of disease and illness, as well as the symptoms;
- a holistic approach to the treatment of disease and illness, linking body, mind and emotions; and
- Acupuncture helps with prevention against disease and illness, as well as the maintenance of general wellbeing.
What does it treat?
The World Health Organisation has a list of common disorders that are recognised as having been successfully treated by acupuncture (bold), or which have been found to respond well to acupuncture (not bold). These disorders include:
▪ Neurological conditions such as headaches, migraines, difficulty sleeping, nervous tension, stroke, some forms of deafness, facial and inter-costal neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, some forms of paralysis, sequelae of poliomyelitis, peripheral neuropathy, noises in the ears, dizziness and Meniere’s disease.
▪ Cardiovascular disorders such as high or low blood pressure, fluid retention, chest pain, angina pectoris, poor circulation, cold hands and feet, and muscle cramps.
▪ Respiratory conditions such as bronchial asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis, acute tonsillitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, hay fever, chronic cough, laryngitis, sore throat, influenza and the common cold.
▪ Digestive system disorders such as toothache, post-extraction pain, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, hiccough, spasms of the oesophagus, gastric and duodenal ulcers, gastric hyperacidity, gastritis, heartburn, hiatus hernia syndrome, flatulence, paralytic ileus, colitis, diarrhoea, constipation, haemorrhoids, liver and gall bladder disorders, and weight control.
▪ Urogenital disorders such as cystitis, prostatitis, orchitis, low sexual vitality, urinary retention, kidney disorders, nocturnal enuresis and neurogenic bladder dysfunction.
▪ Gynaecological and obstetric disorders such as premenstrual tension, painful, heavy or irregular, or the absence of periods, abnormal uterine bleeding or discharge, hormonal disturbances, disorders associated with menopause, prolapse of the uterus or bladder, difficulty with conception and morning sickness.
▪ Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, nerve rash, herpes zoster, acne, scar tissue and resultant adhesions, hair loss and dandruff.
▪ Eye conditions such as visual disorders, red, sore, itchy or watery eyes, conjunctivitis, simple cataracts, myopia in children, and central retinitis.
▪ Musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis, sciatica, lumbago, weak back, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, tenosynovitis, shoulder and neck pain, cervicobrachial syndrome, ‘frozen shoulder’ and ‘tennis elbow’.
▪ Sporting injuries such as sprained ankles and knees, cartilage problems, corking and tearing of muscles, torn ligaments and bruises.
▪ Psychological conditions such as depression, phobias, emotional disturbances, anxiety, nervousness and addictions such as smoking.
With so many benefits and disorders responding to Acupuncture treatment, it’s worthwhile giving the needles a go!
*World Health Organisation (December 1979)
Anthony Byrne I Acupuncturist/Myotherapist