Medical Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

The word acupuncture is derived from the Latin language “us” means needle and “puncture” means to penetrate. In this therapy, tiny thin needles are inserted on certain specific points on the surface of the skin to treat the pain and sufferings.

As per traditional Chinese medicine, our body is governed by energy or life force or vital force or prana. Chinese call this vital force Qi. Whenever there is excess, deficiency or blockage inflow of this Qi, diseases appear in the human body. This Qi along with blood and body fluids flow in certain channels termed as meridians. There are 12 primary meridians and 8 extraordinary meridians in our body which reach all parts including internal organs of the body. There are certain points on these meridians through which treatment of diseases is done by inserting needles. These points are called acupuncture points.

Is acupuncture painful?

Since this treatment is carried out with needles the first question in mind comes whether it is a painful experience? The acupuncture needle is about 10 times thinner than the normal injection needle. Usually, there a sensation of a mosquito bite and this sensation or little more in certain cases is a must for the therapy to be effective. This sensation in the Chinese language is called “Deqi” means connecting the needle with Vital force or Qi. Overall there is the only sensation not pain only at the time of needle insertion and after the needle is in there is no pain for the rest of the period of therapy. Which are the diseases that can be managed with acupuncture?

In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO (WHO) has listed the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:

  1. Low back pain
  2. Neck pain
  3. Sciatica
  4. Tennis elbow
  5. Joint pain
  6. Periarthritis of the shoulder
  7. Sprains
  8. Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
  9. Headache
  10. Dental pain
  11. Temporomandibular (TMJ) dysfunction
  12. Rheumatoid arthritis
  13. Correction of malposition of the fetus (breech presentation)
  14. Morning sickness
  15. Nausea and vomiting
  16. Postoperative pain
  17. Stroke
  18. Essential hypertension
  19. Primary hypotension
  20. Renal colic
  21. Leukopenia
  22. Adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
  23. Allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
  24. Biliary colic
  25. Depression (including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
  26. Acute bacillary dysentery
  27. Primary dysmenorrhea
  28. Acute Epigastralgia
  29. Peptic ulcer
  30. Acute and chronic gastritis

What is the duration and frequency of acupuncture treatment?

Generally, treatment is given thrice a week for chronic diseases but required daily for acute conditions. On the table, therapy is given 20-30 minutes patient needs to stretch one hour for treatment in the clinic including changing and waiting time.

What are other ancillary modes of acupuncture?

Sometimes acupuncture is clubbed with Moxibustion, cupping, bloodletting guasha, Prickling Nerve Stimulation Technique (PNST) for better results

What are different types of acupuncture offered?

  1. Auricular acupuncture
  2. Scalp acupuncture
  3. Abdominal acupuncture
  4. Distal needling and many more as per the need of the patient and his/her condition to be treated

The legal status of acupuncture in India

At present in India acupuncture is recognised as a mode of therapy to be performed by an institutionally qualified medical doctor registered with a state council. However, acupuncture is on the verge of being recognised as an independent system of health care in India and then it will be covered by the insurance sector and Govt hospitals.