Acupuncture (from Latin, acus [needle] and punctura [to puncture]) is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) involving thin needles inserted into the body at acupuncture points. It can be associated with the application of heat, pressure, or laser light to these same points.
It is commonly used for pain relief, though it is also used for a wide range of other conditions; it is rarely used alone but rather as an adjunct to other forms of treatment.
Acupuncture has been described as a type of pseudoscience.
The conclusions of trials and systematic reviews of acupuncture are inconsistent
- An overview of Cochrane reviews found that acupuncture is not effective for a wide range of conditions, and suggest it may be effective for only chemotherapy-induced nausea/vomiting, postoperative nausea/vomiting, and idiopathic headache.
- An overview of high-quality Cochrane reviews suggests that acupuncture may alleviate certain kinds of pain. However, a systematic review of systematic reviews found little evidence of acupuncture's effectiveness in treating pain. The evidence suggests that short-term treatment with acupuncture does not produce long-term benefits. Some research results suggest acupuncture can alleviate pain, though the majority of research suggests that acupuncture's effects are mainly due to the placebo effect. Another systematic review concluded that the analgesic effect of acupuncture seemed to lack clinical relevance and could not be clearly distinguished from bias.
- Acupressure, a non-invasive form of bodywork, uses physical pressure applied to acupressure points by the hand or elbow, or with various devices.
- Acupuncture is often accompanied by moxibustion, the burning of cone-shaped preparations of moxa (made from dried mugwort) on or near the skin.
- Cupping therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which localized suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing.
- Tui na is a method of attempting to stimulate the flow of qi by various bare-handed techniques that do not involve needles.
- Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture in which acupuncture needles are attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses (this has been described as "essentially transdermal electrical nerve stimulation [TENS] masquerading as acupuncture").
- Sonopuncture is a stimulation of the body similar to acupuncture using sound instead of needles.
- Acupuncture point injection is the injection of various substances (such as drugs, vitamins, or herbal extracts) into acupuncture points.
- Auriculotherapy, commonly known as ear acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, or auriculoacupuncture.
- Scalp acupuncture is based on reflexological considerations regarding the scalp.
- Hand acupuncture centers around assumed reflex zones of the hand.
- Medical acupuncture attempts to integrate reflexological concepts, the trigger point model, and anatomical insights (such as dermatome distribution) into acupuncture practice, and emphasizes a more formulaic approach to acupuncture point location.
- Cosmetic acupuncture is the use of acupuncture in an attempt to reduce wrinkles on the face.
- Bee venom acupuncture is a treatment approach of injecting purified, diluted bee venom into acupuncture points.
See reference for details.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on January 18, 2016.