The Guardian online newspaper recently surveyed their readers on the effects of acupuncture on their ailments. Of the 144 respondents, 96 confirmed that acupuncture was effective in helping ease their pain where painkillers had failed.
Scientific studies to determine exactly how acupuncture is effective are still ongoing. But functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has found that acupuncture stimulates the limbic system of our brains, the area associated with emotion.
“Acupuncture affects serotonin, norepinepherine and dopamine,” says Helen Tong, co-owner of Pure 5 Wellness Hub in Burnaby. “These neurotransmitters communicate orders from your brain to your body. Acupuncture improves this communication or solves communication problems.”
The 5000-year-old key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine went into decline until Mao Zedong brought traditional Chinese values to the fore in the 1950s. From there, acupuncture grew in popularity once more and new methods were soon developed.
Acupuncture for anxiety, ear problems, facial treatments, and acne have been popularized with new research and developments. Acupuncture treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee is now covered by insurers in Germany. The IRS allowed acupuncture to be a deductible medical expense back in the 1970s.
As a form of alternative medicine, acupuncture was occasionally dismissed by the general public as an unproven healing practice. Fortunately, most professionals today have seen and experienced the benefits of acupuncture first-hand.
“Everyone should consider acupuncture,” says Keith Tong, husband of Helen and co-owner of Pure 5 Wellness Hub. “While it’s commonly used for pain relief, it can be used for a variety of conditions. My acupuncturist specializes in anti-aging facial acupuncture, for example. It’s a natural form of Botox.”
The Mayo Clinic advocates the use of acupuncture because there are very few adverse side effects and they are rarely painful or debilitating. New developments include electrified needles, clusters of needles at certain points, and even leaving a needle stuck in the skin for a week.
Vancouver acupuncturists undergo certification through province-wide licensing programs. In provinces where there is no government regulation or official certification, a professional may connect with the local chapter of the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada. The World Health Organization recommends 2,500 hours of specialized training for non-physicians and 200 for licensed physicians.