Western medical acupuncture is a complementary therapy involving the insertion of fine, sterile, disposable needles for the relief of health complaints such as musculoskeletal pain, trapped nerves, irritable bowel, menstrual and menopausal symptoms. It is based on scientific research, and the modern and evolving concepts of anatomy and physiology.
In the West, research by Melzack and Wall revealed that the body has the ability to produce its own painkillers. By inserting acupuncture needles in human voluntaries it was proved that the body releases endorphins and enkephalines; these substances are able to suppress pain.
Through research and wisdom of observation, it is believed that acupuncture works through the vast network of nerve endings near the surface of the skin. When an organ is diseased or working below par, the sufferer may feel a tender spot. During assessment with the practitioner, the patient may become aware of those painful areas when the skilled practitioner uses manual palpation to search for the root of the problem. For example for headaches, the problem may be identified in the neck, and for relieving childbirth pain at the bottom of the spine.
The treatment itself consists of inserting fine single use sterile needles on specific points, with the aim of improving activity at these points and simultaneously improve function in other areas of the body.
Acupuncture treats pain and other conditions by stimulating the body's own defense mechanisms, and in so doing calms painful sensations, improves health and vitality.
There is a vast amount of evidence relating to pain management, as in musculo skeletal pain, trapped nerves, pain from arthritis.
For visceral complaints such as irritable bowel, constipation, menstrual problems, fertility issues, acupuncture is often a complementary therapy used in parallel with conventional treatments.