What Can Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Offer?

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Researchers have found that at least three million people suffer from fibromyalgia. Others suggest the number is closer to eight or nine million. Thousands are now finding relief with acupuncture for fibromyalgia.

The American College of Rheumatology reports that fibromyalgia is second only to arthritis when it comes to rheumatic disorders in the United States. There is no known cause for fibromyalgia (FMS).

It is believed it can be triggered by events such as a viral or bacterial infection, a car accident or the development of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or hypothyroidism. These events may awaken a physiological abnormality that already exists in the body.

Whatever the cause, there are some exciting new developments for treating the constant pain associated with fibromyalgia. And one of the most promising is acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been used throughout China for thousands of years. A research study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in 1997 found acupuncture for fibromyalgia to be an effective treatment.

Dr. Don Goldenberg, a fibromyalgia specialist at Newton Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts, finds that acupuncture for fibromyalgia gives positive results when used along with more conventional treatments. "Acupuncture clearly can help lots of chronic pain issues, including fibromyalgia, reports Dr. Goldenberg.

Acupuncture for fibromyalgia is not a cure, but it can help control the symptoms. It does not work for everyone.

"Some people respond spectacularly - but not all, reports Dr. Wendell Hatfield, a Denver rheumatologist who is also trained in acupuncture. "And as with all treatments for chronic conditions, it's not a cure."

Acupuncture is not painful. Very thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points in the body.

Acupuncture is based on a theory that an essential life energy called "chi" (qi) flows through the body along channels called meridians. According to Chinese theory, pain results when the flow of qi is blocked or out of balance.

Acupuncture for fibromyalgia stimulates specific points along the meridians, to restore correct the flow of qi so the pain will be relieved.

Western scientists aren't sure how acupuncture for fibromyalgia works. They believe the acupuncture points are related to known trigger points rich in nerve endings. When acupuncture points are stimulated, chemicals are released into the muscles, spinal cord and brain that produce the body's natural pain-killing endorphins.

In addition to medications and acupuncture, patients have had some success with physical therapy, acupressure, relaxation/biofeedback, chiropractic treatment, therapeutic massage, or an appropriate exercise program.

A great source of information on the latest treatments for Fibromyalgia is the Fibromyalgia Network. Their publications are very patient friendly and describe the latest research. Contact them at 800-853-2929. Take the first step toward getting relief for Fibromyalgia naturally by trying acupuncture for fibromyalgia.

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Acupuncture During Pregnancy

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Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese method of using tiny needles to stimulate specific areas or "meridians" of the body and to rebalance the body's energy, or chi. Because acupuncture is especially effective for chronic conditions, many pregnant women are turning to acupuncture to provide drug-free relief from many of the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy.

An Australian study showed that women who received acupuncture treatments regularly before their 14th week of pregnancy had less nausea and shorter bouts of morning sickness than women who did not receive the treatment. Acupuncture has also been used to treat the more serious condition hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes serious vomiting that persists throughout pregnancy.

During the second trimester, acupuncture has been used to successfully treat heartburn and hemorrhoids. In the third trimester, acupuncture can provide relief from sciatica, joint pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, which many women develop late in pregnancy. Acupuncture has even been used to relieve pain during labor and delivery.

Pregnant women seeking to use acupuncture to treat conditions developed during pregnancy should be sure to visit a licensed and experienced acupuncturist. For example, although acupuncture can be used to treat edema, or swelling of the ankles, edema can be an indicator of a serious problem. An acupuncturist experienced in treating pregnant women would be more likely to recognize this problem and refer the patient back to her obstetrician.

The most serious risk of using acupuncture during pregnancy is that it may stimulate labor if it is improperly applied. Choosing an experienced practitioner reduces this risk to almost negligible levels. In fact, many women have turned to acupuncture to purposefully stimulate labor when their baby is overdue. Some women have found that labor induced by acupuncture is gentler than labor induced by drugs such as Pitocin.

In addition to benefits during pregnancy, labor and delivery, acupuncture has been used to promote fertility and to treat infertility. In a small German study, women who used acupuncture in conjunction with in vitro fertilization had a 42.5% success rate compared to 26.3% in women who used in vitro fertilization alone. Fertility specialists attribute this to the overall improvement of health that comes from receiving regular acupuncture treatments.

Finally, acupuncture may have some benefits in treating post-partum depression. Although no research has been done to support the efficacy of acupuncture treatments on post-partum depression, anecdotal evidence shows that some women do benefit from its use. Because acupuncture does not cause harmful drug interactions, it can be a useful complimentary therapy.

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Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Alternative Health, Nursing, and Weight Loss

Does Piercing Acupuncture Really Effectively Reduce Pain?

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Acupuncture, originally an ancient Chinese medical procedure, aims at reducing a huge range of bodily ailments (disease, infections, pain and psychological problems) by the stimulation of key anatomical points. A whole family of techniques are used from simply applying pressure to inserting needles or using tiny quantities of electricity.

Traditional beliefs on how acupuncture operates function along the notion that this ancient art re-creates a balance in the yin and yang of the patient. Chi is believed to be unblocked and able to flow harmoniously through the meridians of the body, other various mystical abound.

Modern science acknowledges that acupuncture can sometimes be useful with reducing pain, acupuncture typically being used for patient migraines and headaches.

In the recent past results from three big studies found results that displayed significant positive effects from the use of acupuncture on patients suffering from headaches.

In recent German medical trials incidences of headaches were found to be halved when pins were made to pierce a patient's skin, regardless of where these pins were positioned. Traditional specific positioning of pins were found to be no different in their effect on the patients.

302 largely female patients suffering from migraines were studied in 2004 with the use of traditional and 'random' acupuncture as a form of pain reducer. Both forms of acupuncture were found to be as effective as the other in minimizing the occurrence of migraines.

The Royal London Homeopathic hospital in 2004 discovered that, in a study involving 400 patients suffering from headaches and given 12 sessions of needle acupuncture, the incidence of headaches was statistically significantly and sharply reduced by the end of the 12 sessions.

There has also been a wave of controlled trials that have concluded acupuncture involving the piercing of skin with needles has no effect on headaches at all. A minimum of 26 controlled experiments that conferred this fact have been performed and published, according to the newspaper The Independent, in 2005.

Scientific research has found that our nervous systems can be stimulated at various myofascial so called 'trigger points', already known in modern science, enabling pain to be inhibited in a similar fashion to medical practices like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

'Fake' acupuncture, where pins are made to feel like they have pierced the skin even though they have not, have been just as affective in other experiments at producing positive results on patients. Such pins appear to pierce the skin but actually retract inside themselves.

Simply touching skin can create hormonal and emotional reactions, known as a 'limbic touch responses', involving the affected tactile nerves under the skin. Controls in experiments in this way have produced the same pain reducing effects as actually piercing the skin.

Placebos have been seen to have less effect, as opposed to actually piercing the skin, on more pronounced and deep sensory pains such as osteoarthritis in the knee.

What should be taken from this brief article is that acupuncture is medically known to reduce pain, but that the majority of associated traditional theories and advice are either untested or simply untrue and therefore best ignored. The small chance of punctured lungs, internal bleeding, increased pain and other side-effects, that can sometimes occur in up to 1 in 5 acupuncture sessions are details often omitted.

If you do seek acupuncture treatment ensure that the practitioner has the relevant qualifications, typically up to MSc level, in acupuncture, from an accredited institution.
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