Acupuncture is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is usually used for pain management. It is gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for overall wellness as well as for stress management. It basically involves the insertion of fine needles through the skin at strategic points of the body. The depth of insertion is dependent on the meridian points at which the needles must be placed at.
TCM practitioners believe that acupuncture helps to balance the energy flowing through the body and by inserting these needles, the energy flow in the area will be energized and synchronized once again.
Headaches, migraines, labour pains, lower back and neck pains, slipped or bulging discs, osteoarthritis, respiratory illnesses, menstrual cramps as well as chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting have become manageable through acupuncture.
Lower back pain is a common complaint — more so with people being homebound more these days and spending majority of their time sitting in front of a computer or spending weekends working on home improvement projects that take a toll on the load-bearing function of the back. Acupuncture has a variety of meridians that are not limited to areas solely along the back but encompass points at the back of the knees, foot, hip, stomach and even the hand.
The upper back also faces its fair share of pains called thoracic back pain. The areas that hurt are predominantly the head, neck, shoulders and upper back and can be the cause of bad headaches, fibromyalgia (sensitivity to pain), musculoskeletal pain, sciatica and TMD (loss of regular function in the joints and muscles in the TMJ, which connects the jaw to the skull).
However, those with bleeding disorders should avoid acupuncture as there is a possibility of bruising; those with pacemakers run the risk of having electric interference from the mild electric pulses sometimes used to enhance the potency of the acupuncture treatment; acupuncture can also stimulate labour which could result in premature delivery.