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acupuncture

Acupuncture benefits

Today, millions of patients are turning to acupuncture to treat conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain, foot pain, and others) to nausea, anxiety, depression, migraine, headache, insomnia, weight loss, and infertility.

The origins of acupuncture can be traced back at least 2,000 years making it one of the oldest health care systems in the world.

It involves the use of thin solid metal needles which are inserted through the skin at specific points on the body to control pain and other symptoms.

Despite its popularity, opinions on acupuncture are divided.

Acupuncture for back pain

I first used acupuncture to treat lower back pain that was radiating down my left leg due to disc herniation.

It had started 2 months prior when I was sitting on the train tying up my shoelaces when I suddenly felt intense pain on my lower back that traveled down the back of the leg.

Every acupuncturist I visited had a different approach but none of their treatments cured my Sciatica.

Many people who have experienced acupuncture report relief from pain, but after 9 months with no improvement, I was told the only option was back surgery.

My surgeon told me that back pain usually resolves on its own within three months. Most people do not need surgery to relieve symptoms of a herniated disc.

A few days of rest along with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications is all that’s required.

I ended up having a lumbar discectomy. Studies show good results are achieved in 80 to 90% of patients and thankfully for me, surgery fixed the problem.

Acupuncture side effects

Acupuncture does not hurt and is a very safe form of treatment.

I’ve never heard of an accident during a treatment.

As long as the acupuncturist is well trained, and following the guidelines, there shouldn’t be any side effects or accidents at all.

I tried acupuncture for 9 months and didn’t get any side effects.

Acupuncture for weight loss

From my experience, I did not lose any weight during my 9 Months of acupuncture.

If you’re having a hard time losing weight, eat fewer calories, and engage in more physical activity.

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In the last few years, I started putting on a little bit of padding in the mid-section and it wasn’t coming off as easily as it did in my 20’s.

I started eating whole, unprocessed foods and over a three-month period, I lost 9 kilos and went from weighing 88 kg to 79 kg.

Intermittent fasting also helped with my weight loss.

A controlled way of intermittent fasting is best done by the 16:8 method. This involves eating nothing for 16 hours a day, then eat during your 8-hour feeding window.

I only eat during my 8-hour window – from 12 PM until 8 PM.

Doing some exercise on an empty stomach before your first meal will speed up the process and help burn fat fast.

The main advantage to exercising on an empty stomach is that your muscles don’t have much sugar to draw from so you are more likely to use stored body fat for energy.

Although it may be possible that acupuncture promotes weight loss, it’s simply too early to tell for certain. This form of traditional Chinese medicine, which involves inserting small needles into the skin, hasn’t been studied enough to reach any conclusions. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that of the research thus far, only small or poor-quality studies have determined any benefit from acupuncture.

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The Research
A small study published in “Acupuncture and in Medicine” in 2013 followed 58 overweight Koreans for eight weeks. Subjects who received acupuncture of the outer ear, either in five spots or just one “hunger point,” lost more weight than the control group. Those in the five-spot group saw the greatest reduction in waist size. As National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes, however, other studies have shown no weight-loss benefit to acupuncture. And whether acupuncture helps or not, the best way to lose weight is still to eat fewer calories and engage in more physical activity.

Acupuncture is another way to try to manage ongoing, recurrent or chronic back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain etc. But, and it’s a big BUT –

Acupuncture is not much different than swimming, stretching, tapping mattresses, chairs, shoes, pillows, yoga, surgery, pain drugs like opioids, chiropractic and physical therapy because these are all ways to just manage pain symptoms, even when diagnosed with herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal stenosis, whiplash, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and most incomplete diagnoses incorrectly blamed for chronic pain.

THESE TECHNIQUES ARE ONLY PAIN MANAGEMENT.

Pain management by definition is just managing pain. Managing symptoms.

Acupuncture has a long history of providing health benefits and can be an effective tool for many things. However, unless the real cause of the pain is eliminated, there will be no long-term back pain relief or pain relief anywhere in the body.

Auricular acupuncture is the stimulation of acupuncture points on the external ear surface for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other areas of the body. The ear holds a microsystem of the body, consistent with the brain map discoveries of Canadian neuroscientist Wilder Penfield. Dr. Penfield found that maps of the body exist on the surface, or sensory cortex, of the brain. This same brain map is also projected onto different areas of the body, “microsystems”, and in particular precision, onto the ear.

Ear acupuncture has proven to be an efficient method of treating a wide variety of conditions, from headaches and allergies to addictions and pain disorders. Although acupuncture evolved in the context of Asian medicine, the specialty of ear acupuncture was developed in western Europe. It’s foundations laid by Dr. Paul Nogier, a neurologist working in France in the 1950’s, it was deepened and expanded by Frank Bahr M.D. and physical medicine specialists in Germany over the following decades.

The map on the ear is in form of an inverted fetus with all the fine details of the anatomical, physiological, and emotional body represented. The tissue of the ear is unique and has functions in addition to our sense of hearing. The ear is the first organ to develop to its full size and become fully functional about 18 weeks after conception and is one of a few anatomical structures composed of tissue from each of the 3 primary types (endo, ecto, mesoderm) in the developing embryo.

auricular digramThe earliest use of ear acupuncture, like body acupuncture, dates back to ancient China. Auricular acupuncture as we know it today however is largely the outgrowth of work begun by Dr. Paul Nogier, a neurologist trained in acupuncture. He found that the ear holds all of the acupuncture points of the body plus more detailed physiological and anatomical correspondences and found that stimulation of these points were very effective in alleviating pain and other symptoms. When an auricular acupuncture point on the ear is “active” it expresses as increased tenderness on stimulation and a higher electrical conductivity. This indicates pathology in the corresponding body tissue or function and makes auricular acupuncture a useful form of assessment of ailments. The texture, colour, skin changes, veins, etc., in different areas of the ear can be indicators of the state of health.

auricular diagramTreatment is performed by needling the respective points on the ear and, if necessary, also on the body. Disposable surgical stainless steel, or gold or silver plated, needles are used. They are inserted only millimetres under the skin. Small ‘beads’ – metalplated, magnetic, or vaccaria seeds – are often placed with adhesive plaster for longer lasting stimulation. Children are usually not needled but treated with laser or ear ‘beads’ instead. All signals induced by ear acupuncture travel through a specific part of the brain, the diencephalon, to the corresponding body parts. The body strictly obeys these commands because they come straight from the brain. Thus ear acupuncture takes advantage of the body’s own control center, the brain. All diseases that can be traced back to a disturbed, but not destroyed, organ function can be treated by ear and body acupuncture: migraine, insomnia, depression, addictions, indigestion, autonomic symptoms, most conditions of pain and inflammation. Some patients feel immediately relieved, others need several days before they notice an improvement. Some people feel as if they were walking on air after treatment, and almost all feel very relaxed.

The use of ear acupuncture in trauma and disaster
auricular trauma“Community-style” acupuncture is well suited to group treatment conditions faced in disaster settings. Treatment is easily integrated into a wide range of settings: hospitals, outdoor clinics, on a curbside, etc. The volunteer groups Acupuncturists Without Borders and NADA provided support to both relief workers and victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. After the terrorist attack in New York City in the fall of 2001 volunteers from the National Acupuncture Detox Association (NADA) volunteered at St. Vincent’s Integrative Stress Management Center in Manhattan. The clinic continued for 6 years and treated over 40,000 people.
Treatments are easily given while people are fully clothed. A set protocol developed for use in addiction treatment programs through NADA is an effective way to help people facing enormous stress, anger, depression, fatigue and other emotional and physical pain. It has been used in thousands of programs around the world. Those receiving treatment do not have to wait to feel its impact, as relaxation generally occurs within minutes. Survivors of traumatic events report ear acupuncture to be useful in alleviating symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. They report increased mental clarity, ability to cope, alertness, ability to sleep, reductions of pain and muscle spasm, depression, anxiety, and intrusive recall. These simple acupuncture treatments can have a calming and transformative effect without requiring the traumatized client to talk. They can be in a state of extreme dissociation and still benefit.

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