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Acupuncture: A New Look at an Ancient Remedy

Posted on November 09, 2018


By Len Canter, HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Widely practiced in Asia for thousands of years, acupuncture is one of the key components of traditional Chinese medicine. Yet it's still viewed with some skepticism in the Western world.

And for the squeamish, just the idea of needles can be a turnoff. But, depending on what ails you, it might bear trying.


Acupuncture uses very thin needles inserted lightly into the skin to stimulate specific points to correct imbalances in qi (pronounced chee), the flow of energy throughout the body. And these needles don't cause a similar level of pain to the needle used for, say, your annual flu shot.

Even after hundreds of studies, acupuncture's effects are just beginning to be understood. Much research has been done on acupuncture for pain relief. It has benefits for people with frequent headaches and offers some relief for some people with back, neck or arthritis pain. There's even some evidence that it helps with nausea, insomnia, weight loss and quitting smoking as part of a multi-prong approach.

Results vary widely from person to person, even for the same condition, and your expectations and beliefs may factor into whether this drug-free approach helps. So, have an open mind if you're interested in trying it.

Acupuncture is usually safe in the hands of an experienced, well-trained acupuncturist using sterile needles. But improperly performed, it can cause serious side effects. So always check credentials.

Most states require practitioners to have a license, certification or registration, like a diploma from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

Because of the growing interest in this alternative approach, some conventionally trained health care providers also practice acupuncture. The websites of accrediting organizations are a great way to find qualified practitioners.

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Here are some question-and-answer threads from MySpondylitisTeam:

For Ankylosing Spondylitis. has anyone tried natural remedies other than a TENS unit that works on the principal of Acupuncture?

Has anyone tried acupuncture? I have a fracture at L5 and sciatica and am in pain most days.

Has anyone had any good results trying acupuncture? I am thinking of trying it since my neck hurts SO much and I can't take meds for it! Unfortunately, my insurance won't pay for it!

Here are some conversations from MySpondylitsTeam:

"Second round of acupuncture today was not painful today but feel a bit more relaxed in ma back. Doc seemed to hit all the sweet spots..."

"I’m a former massage therapist of ten years that received regular massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, past life regressions, hypnosis, naturopathic medicine, mindfulness, anti-inflammatory diets, gluten-free... There are few holistic options I have not tried. I’ve even been to a Shaman for my pain."

"My nurse also mentioned about having acupuncture. I'm not sure how I feel about it -- not so keen on needles. Eek! Has anyone tried this? She said some of her AS patients have tried it."

Have you tried acupuncture to help ease pain related to your spondylitis? Share in the comments below or directly on MySpondylitisTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

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