Alternative medical treatments are gaining recognition in our country as more and more people become disillusioned with their current conventional treatments. One such alternative therapy is acupuncture. It is estimated that over 3 million Americans turn to acupuncture each year.
This ancient healing therapy rooted in Taoist tradition, predates recorded history. The first recorded use of acupuncture in the West was in 1810 by a doctor who was treating a patient with abdominal pain. Acupuncture is not only useful for treatment but also prevention of a number of serious health conditions. At the root of the acupuncture technique is a belief that the body will heal itself if given the correct stimulation. This is what makes acupuncture so popular for the treatment and prevention of a plethora of medical conditions. The World Health Organization recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of twenty-eight conditions including migraine headaches.
A 2012 study funded by the National Institutes of Health involved nearly 18,000 participants over a period of five years. The findings, published in the Archives of Internal medicine show that acupuncture was more effective than standard treatments for conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, as well as migraine headaches. Researchers note that although many think that the benefit of acupuncture is questionable, these results clearly show an association between its use and reduced pain.
According to the migraine research foundation, over 35 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. For many, migraines are debilitating and include visual disturbances, nausea and throbbing head pain. Migraine sufferers may try over-the-counter remedies first and then turn to their doctor for something stronger. Common prescription migraine drugs include anti inflammatory medicines, Triptans, barbiturate combinations and even narcotics. All of these drugs carry a host of side effects that can be quite dangerous and even deadly.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific parts of the body followed by manual or electric stimulation of these needles. As the vessels around the area of the needle dilate, blood flow increases. Some acupuncturists avoid placing needles in the head and neck region because when treating migraine sufferers. They opt, instead, for placing the needles in other places in the body. According to alternative medicine practitioners, acupuncture is also useful for the prevention of migraines because it can be
used to reduce the stress and tension that often leads to the throbbing pain.
As research continues on the effectiveness of this ancient healing technique, it remains a viable option for those who wish to avoid the side effects of taking over-the-counter and prescription medication.
-The Alternative Daily