The Art of acupuncture has been around and practised for centuries in Asia, and has been spread to the USA and other western countries. Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of pain such as neck pain, back pain, knee pain, shingles, nerve pain, headaches and many more. For those with knee pain for example there has been cases where some have felt relief from the acupuncture effects but from study results there have been mixed results in different people.
A study was undertaken in 2004 which you can see published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, this study found that people with knee osteoarthritis had 6 months worth of acupuncture and they reported a lot less pain and had better functionality of the knee than the people who had sham acupuncture (no needle inserted) or went to a arthritis education program.
Yet a later published article by Annals of Internal Medicine in 2007 showed conflicting results. In this later study the acupuncture led to massive improvements in pain relief and functionality compared with the usual care many receive, but this still did not provide an advantage over the sham acupuncture.
Acupuncture, coming traditionally from China involved inserting really fine needles into specific parts of the skin called “acupoints” along the meridians. This has been known by some scientific evidence to relieve pain by releasing endorphins, which is the bodies natural painkilling chemical, this may also effect parts of the brain that looks after the serotonin levels.
During the Chinese treatment, the therapist, in some cases may twist the needles in the skin slightly or apply heat and may even apply electrical stimulation to enhance the effects. Some even apply herbs to the tips of the needles to further stimulate the acupoints.
The Japanese form of acupuncture uses more shallow needles than the Chinese version, and the needles are not touched in any way during therapy. Korean acupuncture focuses on points in just the hands and feet. Acupressure on the other hand, does not use needle insertions but focuses on deep pressure points with a finger or a thumb.
In acupuncture they typically use 4 to 10 needles per session and leave them in place for around 10-30 minutes, while you rest. You usually have 6-12 sessions over a 3 month period. If you are looking to have acupuncture it is crucial to seek out medical advice from your doctor beforehand and seek out a certified, licensed acupuncturist. The license varies from state to state in the US and other countries.