A traditional Chinese method of healing by inserting thin needles into certain areas beneath the skin and rotating them. Its rationale is that disease is a manifestation of a disturbance of Yin and Yang energy in the body, and that acupuncture brings this energy back into balance by what is described as ‘the judicious stimulation or depression of the ﬂow of energy in the various meridians’. What is still unclear to western doctors is why needling, which is the essence of acupuncture, should have the eﬀect it is claimed to have. One theory is that the technique stimulates deep sensory nerves, promoting the production of pain-relieving ENDORPHINS. Of its eﬃcacy in skilled hands, however, there can be no question, and in China the technique is an alternative to anaesthesia for some operations. Acupuncture is increasingly used in the west, by medically qualiﬁed doctors as well as other practitioners of complementary medicine. As long as proper sterilisation procedures are followed, the treatment is safe: two recent and extensive UK studies detected no serious adverse eﬀects.
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary