Couldn't find what you looking for?


Table of Contents

In recent time, acupuncture has gained recognition as a method of eliminating or reducing pain in some clinical conditions. However, the efficiency of the method, as well as its fundamentals, are still questioned by many practitioners.

Acupuncture has a long history. This well-known and broadly recognized method takes roots in thousands years old traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners of acupuncture often claim that with the right approach the method can cure and address a very broad spectrum of illnesses and physical discomforts. At least some of these claims were indeed confirmed by modern science, but the uncertainty over acupuncture persists.

Medical and general philosophy behind the approach - traditional and scientific views

Uncertainty starts with the philosophy behind the method. The system upholds that the life force or energy, known as Qi, flows in the body through paths of energy. These paths are known as Meridians, and they may represent one vital organ or group of organs that work together for the body’s normal functioning.

The theory of Acupuncture believes that health and wellness results from proper and adequate flow of this energy whereas its disruption or imbalance leads to illness. Balance requires achieving equilibrium between the innate forces of nature, the Yin and the Yang. Once imbalance occurs, goals should be set to restore it through acupuncture. The method has acupuncturists insert thin needles at points along the Meridians. This is the spot where the path of energy is nearest to the skin surface.

The trouble is, modern science can’t see any evidences that would confirm the existence of Qi, Meridians, Yin or Yang. Various theories trying to interpret traditional views in modern scientific terms do not sound very convincing.

Empiric evidences in favor of acupuncture seem to be convincing, though.

The use of acupuncture for a certain range of medical conditions has formally been acknowledged by such important institutions as the World Health Organization, US-based National Institute of Health and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, as well as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The recognition has gained criticisms from various scientists who remain skeptical about the efficacy and safety of the practice.

Many primary care physicians do not even have the solid understanding of the theory and practice that embody this healing alternative. Nonetheless, successful treatments do exist and include, for example, the pain on the neck, head, and back regions.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Madsen MV, Gøtzsche PC, Hróbjartsson A. (2009) Acupuncture treatment for pain: systematic review of randomised clinical trials with acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, and no acupuncture groups. BMJ 338, a3115
  • Johnson, M. I. (2006) The clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for pain relief--you can be certain of uncertainty. Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society 24 (2): 71–79
  • Berman BM, Lao L, Langenberg P et al. (2004) Effectiveness of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 141(12): 901-910
  • Manheimer E, White A, Berman B et al. (2005) Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. Ann Intern Med. 142(8): 651-663.
  • Photo courtesy of ~ggvic~ by Flickr :
  • Photo courtesy of kurt by Flickr :