Acupuncture

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a medical health technology developed thousands of years ago within the theoretical basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and updated today thanks to the western scientific advancement of evidence-based medicine.

Today, scientific research has been unraveling the old concepts of energy pathways and meridians, providing the basis of the physiological mechanisms of acupuncture, allowing to elaborate a map of actions that explain the benefits obtained in clinical practice. Acupuncture obtains therapeutic effects both locally and systemically, in painful and non-painful pathologies. These effects are based on neuromodulation exerted through signals transmitted by the nervous system and intercellular biochemical mediators of the connective system.

Why is it performed?

Currently, research work continues on the biological mechanisms of action of acupuncture in the human body: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic and antidepressant. In addition to the study of its efficacy and effectiveness in numerous diseases and health problems, the aim is to achieve its integration into conventional medicine as a complementary medical technical procedure.

In acute conditions, acupuncture treatment produces a rapid effect, but the diseases treated are usually chronic, so it usually requires more treatment cycles, which include five to ten sessions each, performed once or more times a week, depending on the severity and chronicity of the health problem.

Acupuncture is a very useful complementary treatment for many health problems. To cite the most common ones endorsed by the WHO:

  • Anxiety.
  • Arthrosis.
  • Hip osteoarthritis.
  • Back osteoarthritis.
  • Hand osteoarthritis.
  • Knee osteoarthritis.
  • Smoking cessation.
  • Depression.
  • Neck pain.
  • Back or pelvic pain during pregnancy.
  • shoulder pain
  • Prostatitis pain / chronic pelvic pain.
  • neck pain (cervical pain)
  • Period pain (dysmenorrhea).
  • acute low back pain
  • Knee pain.
  • Cancer pain.
  • shoulder pain
  • constipation
  • stress
  • Cancer-related fatigue.
  • Male and female fertility.
  • Hypertension.
  • Insomnia.
  • Insomnia in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
  • Insomnia after stroke.
  • Menopause (hot flashes).
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
  • Post-surgery nausea and vomiting.
  • Facial neuralgia.
  • Obesity: for weight loss.
  • Dry eye and dry mouth.
  • Facial paralysis.
  • Allergic rhinitis.
  • Premenstrual syndrome.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Symptoms related to cancer and its treatments: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other pharmacology.
  • Thalalgia.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Overactive bladder.
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What is Acupuncture?

The word acupuncture comes from the Latin “acus”, which means needle, and “puncture”, which means puncture. Its action is based on the insertion of fine needles in specific points of the human body. These points have specific neuroanatomical locations that confer specific neurobiological effects.

The needles are usually as thin as a thread and their length depends on the area to be punctured and the effect sought. They are usually made of stainless steel and are solid. Sterile, single-use needles are always used.

Preparation for acupuncture

During the first consultation, the health acupuncturist tries to determine the pathology presented by the patient through a meticulous questionnaire of anamnesis, observation and exploration. It is very important to understand the symptoms presented by the patient, as well as his or her personal and family history, lifestyle, type of diet, sleep pattern, emotional or mental state. These are questions that may seem unrelated to the reason for the disease but are very important for the diagnosis and need to be answered as accurately as possible.

Physical examination and assessment of complementary imaging tests are also necessary. Once the pathological pattern(s) affecting the patient have been identified, the therapeutic principle is determined and the appropriate points and method of treatment are selected.

Post-procedure care

None in particular. Acupuncture is safe in qualified expert hands. The knowledge of the professional who practices acupuncture makes it possible to perform the technique safely and to be able to collaborate with other medical specialists in therapeutic decisions. Acupuncture has a multidisciplinary vision and is complementary to other medical and surgical procedures.

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Information prepared and provided by Dr. Juan Muñoz Ortego, specialist in Acupuncture and Rheumatology.