Acupuncture is one of the most sought-after treatments by people suffering from various conditions from stress-related diseases to migraines, diabetes, skin disorders, and so on. Just recently, a group of researchers found that the 2,000 year-old therapy may help reduce joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. Now, another study seems to strengthen the claim that acupuncture promotes pain relief.
Britons receive 4M acupuncture sessions a year
For many countries such as the UK, acupuncture is a fad. According to the University of York, British people receive four million acupuncture sessions each year to address varying health conditions, majority of which is chronic pain. This non-medical therapy seems to promote better health by restoring the so-called Qi or energy balance in the body. Despite the lack of scientific evidences, more and more people want to experience how it’s like to have needles pierced all over their body and how it would make them feel better after. In fact, acupuncture was first used by people in ancient China primarily to reduce pain as well.
In a review of previous studies, US researchers looked into the effects of acupuncture in alleviating pain. There were two forms of acupuncture investigated – the traditional Chinese therapy and the sham acupuncture (a modern technique).
They found that people who received acupuncture experienced pain on a lesser degree as compared to those who didn’t receive it. The results were consistent regardless of the cause of pain, whether osteoarthritis, headache or neck pain. Overall, people who were treated with acupuncture had 30% reduction in pain compared to those who took medications.
Acupuncture for pain is real, experts say
The study lasted for almost 7 years and involved 40 people which were consist of advocates, specialists, practitioners, patients, and other experts in the US. According to Dr Andrew Vickers from the Pain Centre at the Cushing Neuroscience Institute in Great Neck, New York, what sets their study apart from earlier efforts was that theirs involved exhaustive research. The review covered nearly 1,000 studies and around 18,000 participants from various countries including United Kingdom, United States, Spain, and Sweden.
At present, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture only for lower back pain. They do it based on clinical research. But for some conditions where it is normally administered, there were very little if no scientific evidences that prove the effectiveness of acupuncture, according to NICE.
Still, for thousands of people who have experienced for themselves the amazing effects of acupuncture, this therapy is considered one of the magic bullets in the field of alternative medicine.
Sources of this article:
Vickers, A. Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept. 10, 2012.
Avins, A. Archives of Internal Medicine, Sept. 10, 2012.