Acupuncture finds its origins in China more than 3000 years ago, where in some documents it is placed between the years 2696 and 2598 BC. This ancient science, which has been perfected for thousands of years, is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is based on the insertion and manipulation of fine needles at specific points (called “xue” in Chinese) of the body, in order to improve the flow and energy balance along these meridians that pass through our body. This healing medicine aims to restore the health and well-being of the patient.
Chinese medicine also contemplates the use of “moxas”, a cone or cigar made with the plant Artemisa Vulgaris which is placed on the needle or near the skin, at the acupuncture points. Acupuncturists widely use this technique to treat pain.
In Chinese medicine it is believed that diseases are produced by an imbalance of the two modes of “ch’I”: “yin” and “yang” (yin-yang); so acting on the acupuncture points attempts to rebalance the energy, stimulating them or producing a depression in them. Acupuncture points are distinguished by having different applications based on three principles: rebalancing, stimulating or sedating the vital flow. The most important acupuncture points are those that regulate the energy background and are distributed from elbows to fingers, on the forearms; and from knees to feet on the leg.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises acupuncture as an effective complement to a range of diseases, especially those of chronic nature. Acupuncture therapy implies a reduction in the intake of drugs for the patient, as well as an aid for the reduction of pain in surgical procedures or inflammatory processes. WHO has published documents and guides to encourage clinical studies of this medical discipline as a way to validate acupuncture and formalise its therapeutic and disease prevention use.
Supporters of acupuncture indicate that it is appropriate for the treatment of a wide range of pathologies, with particular reference to the use in cases of herniated discs, allergies, inflammatory processes or flu infections. They also highlight its use as an analgesic, even to reduce pain in surgical procedures.
Modern medicine has studied acupuncture to try to give a scientific explanation to the effects attributed to it. Although studies have not been fruitful in this regard, it is known to affect the nervous system, stimulating the activity of analgesic substances (such as endorphins and immune cells) when acting on certain acupuncture points of the body.
In other studies, it has been revealed the Chinese therapy alters brain chemistry, altering the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that act on the involuntary functions of our body (immune reactions, blood flow, blood pressure, etc.).