Acupuncture: New Medicine Alternative or Scam?
Acupuncture is an old therapeutic practice in Chinese medicine; however, it is becoming more prevalent in America every year. Have you ever wondered how sticking little needles into someone could actually work to reduce pain and other illnesses? Acupuncture is, by definition, “A Chinese medical practice or procedure that treats illness or provides local anesthesia by the insertion of needles at specified sites of the body” (“Acupuncture”). It sounds crazy that getting poked by needles would actually alleviate pain, right? According to an article on the effects of acupuncture on central autonomic regulation, “Acupuncture has clinical efficacy on various nerve-related disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases, epilepsy, anxiety and nervousness, circadian rhythm disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and subfertility” (Li et. al). The big question when it comes to acupuncture is: is it actually working or are the psychological and therapeutic effects just making people believe it is?
Acupuncture first originated in China, thousands of years ago as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM (Li et. al). TCM was built on the Taoist philosophy which states, “people have a dynamic interaction with their environment, in which health and well-being are influenced by one’s natural surroundings” (Leake and Broderick). According to an article by Leake and Broderick, “Acupuncture became firmly established as a system of medicine during the Sui dynasty in 589-618 with the foundation of the Imperial Medical College.” As a part of TCM, acupuncture “is believed to restore the balance between Yin and Yang,” which, in the terms of Western Medicine translates to: “acupuncture modulates the imbalance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic activity” (qtd. in Li et. al). Leake and Broderick also describe the concept of Qi (“chee”) in Traditional Chinese Medicine which is, “the natural force, often referred to as “energy” that accounts for all spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental processes.” The role acupuncture plays in Qi is balancing the flow of energy when “there is too much or too little Qi, or when the flow is blocked or interrupted,” by targeting specific acupuncture points where imbalance is found (Leake and Broderick). According to an article by Peter T. Dorsher on acupuncture meridians, the meridians or “channels” in acupuncture are that which Qi flows through during treatment (Dorsher).
Today, the scientific aspect of acupuncture is being studied more thoroughly and it is being more commonly used as palliative care along with regular treatment. In 1997, the National Institutes of health had a panel of experts come together to discuss acupuncture’s scientific evidence in which, “the panel concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for several medical conditions, and described biochemical and physiological mechanisms that begin to explain these effects” (Leake and Broderick). Liz...