Treating pain, whether it is sharp or dull, steady or intermittent, localized or a general malaise, acute or chronic, with a known cause or mysterious, is the most well-known acupuncture therapy in the United States. The NHIS (National Health Interview Survey), reports seventy percent of all acupuncture treatments are for pain or musculoskeletal complaints, primarily back pain, joint pain, neck pain, severe headache and migraine, and recurring pain of any kind.
Effectiveness of Acupuncture is Proven in the Orient
In China some 1,500 years ago, the Imperial Medical College was established for medical research, with acupuncture forming the core of its curriculum, along with moxibustion and herbal medicine.
Since 1960, acupuncture has been the anesthesia of choice in China, its many advantages including safety and swift post-operative recovery.
Used in Japan for its anesthetic effect (for surgical operations, post-operative pain (POP), neuropathic pain, pain from tooth extractions and extraction of impacted wisdom teeth), Japan recently has focused more on acupuncture’s ability to treat a broad range of common pains.
Effectiveness of Acupuncture is Proven in the West
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture is helpful in relieving the pain of fibromyalgia, menstrual cramps, chronic neck pain, migraines and tension headaches.
In November, 1997 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that acupuncture may be an effective complement to Western therapy for many pain conditions.
The American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians in 2007 suggested that doctors consider acupuncture for patients with chronic low-back pain.
Ulett, J Han, & S Han, 1998 reported that acupuncture induces the gene expression of specific neurohoromones, which tracks with the relief of various types of pain.
What about the Placebo Effect?
The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture reports positive results in animals treated for hip dysplasia and chronic degenerative joint disease, and respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological and urinary tract disorders. Kevin Haussler, lecturer in the department of biomedical sciences at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, N.Y. has remarked on the acceptance of acupuncture by the veterinary community.
Opponents of acupuncture assert that its effects are a placebo effect. Since animals are not subject to the placebo effect, their pain relief after acupuncture treatments is real and observable.
A Final Thought
In ALL the medical sciences, both Western and Oriental, no positive result can be guaranteed. That said, it often has been observed that when used together conventional Western Medicine and Chinese/Oriental Medicine, including acupuncture, often increases the success rate over either alone.
NationalCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM
11 June 2007 eCAM 2008;5(2)153–158 doi:10.1093/ecam/nem056
Acupuncture Anesthesia and Analgesia for Clinical Acute Pain in Japan
Reina Taguchi, Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion II Meiji University of Oriental Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
The History of Acupuncture in China © George T. Lewith MA, MRCGP, MRCP
(Excerpted from Acupuncture-Its Place in Western Medical Science, Thorsons Publishing Group)
Animal Acupuncture: More Pets Get the Point
National Geographic News
November 25, 2002