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    How Does Acupuncture Work? Understanding how this ancient Chinese health method works has been challenging to modern science. There are two ways to look at the question. On one hand, an ancient explanation is available to describe this treatment using terms like qi energy and meridians, none of which are recognized by clinical researchers. On the other hand, scientists have attempted to explain the phenomenon using standard medical terms. According to traditional Chinese medicine, our bodies’ life force depends on a balanced flow of energy. This energy may be called qi, blood, or electrical energy from the nervous system. Under this system of belief, qi can become blocked, which causes painful sensations or loss of function in various body parts. From this perspective, an acupuncturist’s job is to remove blockages to make qi or blood circulate better, which is said to restore a healthy balance to the body. Science explains this differently. In the 1970s, scientists identified endorphins as the chemicals that relieve pain and produce pleasure. Research suggests that properly performed acupuncture can produce a rush of endorphins that can relieve certain kinds of painful discomfort, as well as nausea. Exactly how these tiny pins cause an endorphin rush is not known. There are some in the scientific community who doubt the therapy has any special effect at all, which will be discussed later. The practice has proven difficult to investigate. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that different practitioners use different numbers of acupoints, recommend different numbers of sessions, and hold those sessions for longer or shorter durations, making comparison difficult. The second challenge to researchers is that peoples’ beliefs and expectations, as well as how they feel about their therapist, may impact how effectively their conditions seem to them to be impacted by the treatment. How Painful Are Those Pins? Many people have a fear of needles. Maybe your yearly flu vaccination makes you flinch as it’s administered. But the needles used in acupuncture are far different from the ones used to draw blood or deliver a vaccine. In this case, the pins being used are quite fine. As a result, most people report little or no pain from the treatment. So if agony is your main concern when considering this treatment for your condition, rest assured: It shouldn’t hurt. Lower Back Pain One of the most common sources of chronic pain is felt in the lower back. For many, treatment for lower back pain (LBP) requires physical therapy, medicine, or in the worst cases, surgery. The evidence from many clinical trials studying traditional needling for LBP is inconsistent. The different findings of 16 studies may depend on whether patient suffers from acute or chronic LBP. “Acute” refers to pain that comes and goes, and ends after an injury has healed, while “chronic” refers to ongoing pain that does not go away after an injury has healed. Researchers who compared the various reviews concluded that acupuncture improves pain and function of the lower back. However, patients suffering from acute LBP responded about the same whether their acupuncture treatment was performed accurately or intentionally inaccurately for testing purposes. Tension and Migraine Headaches Headaches are a frequent frustration for many people. Some research suggests careful needlework may provide effective, temporary relief for chronic tension headaches. When it comes to migraine headaches, researchers have concluded that needle treatments can be effective in treating such conditions even if they are not placed in the proper acupoints, and also show a possibly stronger effect than conventional drug therapy with fewer side effects. Treatment for Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a common type of chronic pain that causes aching and tenderness across the body. It occurs about four times as often in women as it does in men. At least 20 percent of patients suffering from fibromyalgia will try needling as a treatment for their condition. Does it work? One recent analysis looked at nine trials to try to answer that question. The researchers determined that the evidence of needling’s effectiveness is low to moderate when treating fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. It also concluded that the practice is safe, and that larger studies are warranted based on the available evidence. Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common cause of joint pain and swelling that can make everyday activities difficult if not impossible. Unfortunately, the effect of acupuncture on RA seems to be limited or nonexistent according to a recent examination of the evidence. Researchers looked at two studies they described as being of “low to medium quality.” The studies followed 84 people suffering from RA and looked for reduction in pain, the number of swollen joints, and improvements on several other symptoms of the condition. While the studies seemed to see an improvement after acupuncture treatment for knee pain, that conclusion was marred by the poor quality of the trials. Improving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome When patients suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), they often experience pain and numbness in their index finger and middle finger. The condition also makes the thumb weaker. CTS is caused by a pinched wrist nerve. So does acupuncture help improve CTS? The science remains inconclusive, according to the US National Institute of Health. The NIH found that needling benefits some people, but the exact effectiveness is not scientifically proven. Relief from Dental Discomfort Studies have suggested that acupuncture treatment can relieve pain left by dental surgery and pulled teeth, but it doesn’t seem to matter whether the pins are placed in accordance with traditional Chinese medicine. Pain in Other Places Acupuncture treatment has been attempted across a range of pain types, from menstrual cramps and tennis elbow to neck pain and muscle discomfort. The effectiveness of such treatments is all over the map, with some studies suggesting improvement of symptoms and others showing little or no improvement. The US National Institute of Health has called for further research in an attempt to verify whether or not such therapy has a useful effect for relieving these various ailments. Acupuncture as Complementary Medicine Often acupuncture work is accompanied by other forms of therapy in an attempt to ease a wide variety of ailments. When an alternative therapy is used alongside modern medical treatments to relieve symptoms, it is said to be a form of complementary medicine. Some studies suggest the therapy helps patients heal with fewer drugs, while others find that it seems to improve medical outcomes when used alongside standard medicine. Other examples of complementary medicine include: cupping, hypnotherapy, and tai chi. Relief from Nausea The evidence for acupuncture treatment for nausea has been mixed. The American College of Chest Physicians determined that acupuncture studies for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy were poorly controlled, and therefore does not recommend its use. The US National Institute of Health, however, described the results of such therapies as “promising.” Nevertheless, no studies have shown ongoing nausea relief for delayed nausea that sets in 1-8 days after chemotherapy. Should the practice be used for gastrointestinal distress? Discuss it with your doctor if you think it may be beneficial for you. Cancer Care When you have cancer symptoms or are undergoing chemotherapy, you may want an acupuncturist who can help you deal with pain, nausea, and vomiting. This type of professional should have experience working with cancer patients and should have a clear understanding of your symptoms. Some other cancer symptoms that may find relief this way include fatigue, sleeping problems, depression, hot flashes, xerostomia (dry mouth), neuropathy (weakness and pain from nerve damage), and anxiety. Using pins for cancer relief is still being studied. Some trials suggest it works better in relieving vomiting than at reducing nausea. Be sure to talk to your doctor first to discuss your best medical treatment options for cancer. Will It Improve Fertility? Can tiny pinpricks make men or women more fertile? Lots of time and money has been spent in an attempt to further understand whether any fertility improvements can be determined from the procedure, but few conclusions can be drawn. Different medical journals report different findings on the matter. One metastudy found that acupuncture may have a positive effect on male infertility, and found that it seems to enhance in vitro fertilization results in some cases. However another metastudy drew the opposite conclusion when it found that overall, precisely placed pinpricks could not be proven to increase pregnancy rates. Both agreed that the matter requires further inquiry before conclusions can be drawn. Does It Help You Stop Smoking? As is often the case, research points in different directions when the impact on smoking cessation is studied. Some one-off trials point to clinically significant results; however, these studies typically suffer from small sample sizes and poor methodology. One medical journal reported a metastudy looking into 33 separate reports concluded that no consistent evidence existed to recommend acupuncture as a smoking cessation aid, though the metastudy also called for more well-designed research into the area. Safe for Children? Assuming the acupuncturist is licensed and follows recommended safety standards, the practice is generally believed to be safe for kids. Typically it is used to control post-surgical nausea and vomiting, as well as painful symptoms. Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however, is not supported by scientific evidence. Does Acupuncture Really Work? While the practice has its champions, the topic of whether or not acupuncturists provide any special relief remains a hot topic in the scientific community. Many skeptics believe any perceived effects of acupuncture can be chalked up to the placebo effect or other research biases. These rationalists point to several problems with the current state of acupuncture research: Nobody knows how it works. Scientists call this the “mechanism” of a treatment, and so far no one has definitively proven how shallowly slipping thin needles under a person’s skin can lead to any health benefit. Sometimes the practice’s proponents say it has something to do with endorphins or other physical properties, and sometimes they use unscientific terms such as meridians or life energy to explain what’s happening. But getting beyond these explanations has proven troublesome. It doesn’t matter where the pins are placed. In many controlled trials, groups have been separated into those who receive their pins in specific acupoints and others who receive them elsewhere. Frequently no difference between the two groups can be ascertained. In some cases, the sham procedure produces better results than the authentic method. It works because people think it works. This line of skepticism is bolstered by a known phenomenon called the placebo effect. When the placebo effect is taking place, it may actually be that patients are experiencing some relief from their symptoms, so it doesn’t necessarily mean relief is “all in their heads.” One researcher concluded that placebos can stimulate natural opioids, which may provide an explanation for why the procedure works without any clear mechanism. Risks Involved For the most part, acupuncture is considered quite safe. However there are some risks, and those can be serious. For example, it is of utmost importance to your health that the needles being used are sterile. Otherwise you may be putting yourself at needless risk of infection. Be absolutely sure your practitioner only uses sterile needles and tosses the old needles away after they are used. While unusual, it is also possible for the needles to be inserted too deeply into the skin, which can cause problems with internal organs. The gallbladder, lungs, and blood vessels are at risk of being punctured in this way. Take the time to do your research and make sure your practitioner has a consistent record of safety before agreeing to a session. Who Should Avoid Acupuncture? Not everyone should receive this form of medical care. If you have a bleeding disorder or if you take a blood thinning medicine, your risk of bleeding may increase and you should therefore exercise caution. Sometimes the needles being used are electrified, which could present dangers to anyone who relies on a pacemaker or similar electronic device. Health advocates recommend that pregnant women discuss this form of therapy with their doctor before proceeding. And if you decide to go through with acupuncture, it would be unwise to skip your conventional care and rely on needle work alone. Picking an Acupuncturist Make sure the person you choose has met certain basic standards for his or her health practice. Training and education in the proper fields should be one of your requirements. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, two national groups provide resources for licensure: the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (for physicians). Variations of the Practice Acupuncture is practiced in more ways than one. For instance, some practitioners bundle dry mugwort at the end of a needle and burn it, a process known as moxibustion. In another variation, electroacupuncture may stimulate the nerves with an electrical current. Yet another variation involves the use of laser needles by placing them on (but not inside) the body’s surface. Acupressure vs. Acupuncture Maybe the thought of being pricked with a needle has you screaming for the nearest exit. If so, you may find that acupressure provides a similar effect on your health, without all the fear. Acupressure substitutes the needles with pressing or massaging acupoints in an attempt to stimulate pathways of energy. Some trials indicate that acupressure can be useful in reducing nausea and lessening the pains associated with labor during childbirth.
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    Acupuncture and Knee Pain What is knee pain? Knee pain is a fairly common complaint among both children and adults. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 11 million visits are made to physicians' offices each year because of a knee or knee-related problem. It is the most often treated anatomical site by orthopedists, and one of the most oft-examined sites among general practitioners. The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (or femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap, which slides in a grove on the end of the femur. The knee joint also contains several muscles, which straighten the leg and bend the leg at the knee; tendons, which attach the muscles to the bones; ligaments, which help control motion by connecting bones; and cartilage, which serves to cushion the knee or help it absorb shock during motion. Because of its size, and because it is such a complex structure, it is also one of the most frequently injured joints. Knee injuries can be caused by several factors. Most complaints of knee pain result from some form of trauma, such as a torn or ruptured ligament; a broken or fractured kneecap; torn cartilage; or an accident that causes damage to the area or strains the knee beyond its normal range of motion. Other conditions that can lead to knee pain are infections; arthritis; hemarthrosis (blood in the knee joint); cysts; and bone tumors. Being overweight can also contribute to knee problems by causing excess strain on ligaments and cartilage. Who suffers from knee pain? Many athletes experience knee injuries, particularly to the knee ligaments. Nearly everyone has become familiar with the acronym ACL, which stands for anterior cruciate ligament. ACL tears can be caused by rapidly twisting or changing directions; slowing down when running; or landing from a jump. Injuries to the medial collateral ligament (MCL) are usually caused by contact on the outside of the knee. Knee pain isn't restricted to professional athletes, however. As people get older, the amount of cartilage in the knee decreases, and many ligaments begin to lose some of their elasticity, making them more susceptible to pain and/or injury. What can acupuncture do? Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in relieving certain types of knee pain, especially arthritic conditions of the knee and knee joint. A 1999 study comparing electroacupuncture to ice massage and transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TENS) for subjects with osteoarthritis found that acupuncture decreased pain and stiffness levels and increased muscle strength and flexion in the knee. Another study published that same year suggested that patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome might benefit from weekly acupuncture treatments. Smaller studies have confirmed that acupuncture is beneficial in reducing knee pain, stiffness and physical disability in patients with knee and knee-related problems. It can ease the discomfort some subjects feel while waiting for knee surgery, and in some cases, it may even be considered an alternative to surgery. As with any other form of care, however, remember that not all patients will respond to acupuncture. Make sure to discuss the situation thoroughly with your acupuncturist before undergoing treatment for knee/leg pain
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    Wrapping food items in newspaper is bad for your health as its ink has multiple bio-active materials with known negative health effects, FSSAI said on Friday. "Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically, " the Food, Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) said in an advisory. "Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives. Besides chemical contaminants, presence of pathogenic micro organisms in used newspapers also poses potential risk to human health, " the advisory said. The advisory also said that even paper/cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with harmful chemicals like phthalate which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity. "Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications, if they are exposed to food packed in such material, " the advisory warned. The advisory comes after Health Minister J.P. Nadda's directions to the food regulatory authority against the practice of wrapping and covering food items in newspapers in India "It has been observed that vendors have been using newspapers in packing and serving food, which is harmful. I urge the public to dissuade the vendors from doing so." According to the advisory, the Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/Union Territories will initiate systematic campaigns for generating awareness among all the stakeholders to discourage the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing.
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    Raj Taskar "Acupuncturist" Relieving Headaches (Migraines) with Acupuncture Therapy (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize two categories of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is a clinical condition, not a symptom of another disorder. Primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury or brain tumors. Acupuncture is used to effectively treat primary headaches, namely tension and migraine, which are the most common. Types of Headaches There are a variety of different types of headaches, both primary and secondary. These include the following: Tension Headaches Headache Tension headaches, which occasionally affect most people, are the most common type of headache. They are recurrent headaches, and can last anywhere from minutes to days. These headaches are experienced as a dull pressure, mild or moderate in severity. Migraines Migraine headaches are usually one-sided, pulsating or throbbing, and moderate or severe in intensity. They can be worsened with activity and may be associated with nausea and/or vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light or noise. Some patients also experience auras, a neurological symptom that develops gradually over 5-20 minutes. The patient may see brief flashes or waves of light, or changes in their vision. Other common features of auras include vertigo, imbalance, confusion and numbness. Chronic Headache Headaches occurring every day or almost every day are referred to as chronic daily headaches or rebound headaches. Sometimes they resemble tension headaches, and at other times, migraines. The overuse of pain medications can result in aggravating headache patterns. Dangerous Headaches Some headaches may be signs of a serious medical condition. These include headaches after trauma, headaches in the elderly, or headaches with any of the following symptoms: Vomiting without nausea Severe dizziness Fever Extreme neck pain Sudden onset Hypertension
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    Acupuncture treatment for Stress, Anxiety, Depression & Insomnia raj taskar - acupuncturist As our broadband speeds up and our phones get smarter, some matters regarding our health get overlooked — especially our mental health. Tablets and smart phones have made it more convenient to be connected, but a large number of people still feel disconnected. Fortunately, the Internet also has allowed people to explore the possibilities of trying complementary therapies such as acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient form of traditional Chinese medicine. It works on the principle of stimulating points in the body to correct imbalances in the flow of energy (Qi) through channels known as meridians. This belief is based on the interaction of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and having profound effects on internal organs, which are either yin or yang. Traditional Chinese medicine also recognizes the mind and body interacting as one, meaning that emotions have a physiological effect on the body. Five emotions are represented by the five elements: Water (fear) Wood (anger) Fire (happiness) Earth (worry) Metal (grief) Western medical practitioners traditionally have questioned the validity of traditional Chinese medicines such as acupuncture. More recently, acupuncture has been recognized as a legitimate treatment for some conditions and is growing in popularity. Anxiety Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide. Many people suffer some form of anxiety occasionally but others cannot manage this natural response to a stressful situation.Anxiety can trigger the following responses: physical, such as an irregular heartbeat cognitive, which can cause negative thoughts behavioral, which may include uncharacteristic aggression or restlessness emotional, such as fear. Depression It is estimated that approximately one in five people will experience clinical depression at least once in their lifetime. Although it is natural to feel sad and down at times, especially after experiencing loss, these slight effects can be managed with gradual lifestyle adjustments. Clinical depression, however, refers to a long-lasting and intense emotional, physical and cognitive state that greatly affects day-to-day life. Symptoms include: Loss of positive associations and sense of achievement (lack of interest in normally pleasurable activities) Negative thoughts (often worrying about the future) Irritability, agitation and exhaustion Changes in sleeping patterns (too much or too little) Hopelessness (feeling trapped or suicidal)
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    NEWS Acupuncture relieves pain in emergency patients: study The world’s largest randomised controlled trial of acupuncture in emergency departments has found the treatment is a safe and effective alternative to pain-relieving drugs for some patients. Led by RMIT University, the study found acupuncture was as effective as pain medicine in providing long-term relief for patients who came to emergency in considerable pain. But the trial, conducted in the emergency departments of four Melbourne hospitals, showed pain management remains a critical issue, with neither treatment providing adequate immediate relief. Lead investigator Professor Marc Cohen, from RMIT’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, said pain was the most common reason people came to emergency, but was often inadequately managed. “While acupuncture is widely used by practitioners in community settings for treating pain, it is rarely used in hospital emergency departments, ” Cohen said. “Emergency nurses and doctors need a variety of pain-relieving options when treating patients, given the concerns around opioids such as morphine, which carry the risk of addiction when used long-term. “Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions. “But it’s clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received.” The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia and funded by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council, involved 528 patients with acute low back pain, migraine or ankle sprains who presented at the emergency departments of the Alfred Hospital, Cabrini Malvern, Epworth Hospital and Northern Hospital between January 2010 and December 2011. Patients who identified their level of pain as at least 4 on a 10-point scale randomly received one of three types of treatment: acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. One hour after treatment, less than 40 per cent of patients across all three groups felt any significant pain reduction (2 or more pain points), while more than 80 per cent continued to have a pain rating of at least 4. But 48 hours later, the vast majority found their treatment acceptable, with 82.8 per cent of acupuncture-only patients saying they would probably or definitely repeat their treatment, compared with 80.8 per cent in the combined group, and 78.2 per cent in the pharmacotherapy-only group. “Some Australian emergency departments already offer acupuncture when trained staff are available but further studies are needed on ways to improve pain management overall in emergency departments, and the potential role for acupuncture in this, ” Cohen said. “We need to determine the conditions that are most responsive to acupuncture, the feasibility of including the treatment in emergency settings, and the training needed for doctors or allied health personnel.”
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