Acupuncture and Chronic Pain Essay

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What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient art of healing that dates back to at least 2,500 years. It has been widely practiced in China and many other Asian countries. Only recently has acupuncture made its way into the western world. Acupuncture accentuates on the natural healing of the body. It involves stimulating acupuncture points by the insertion of very fine, solid, metallic needles.

Acupuncture is gaining popularity as numerous claims are being made to its validity and effectiveness. Although many studies and experiments regarding acupuncture have been done, the scientific basis of the principles of this alternative approach still remains unclear (http://www.health.org/pubs/acu-nih.htm).

Principles of Acupuncture
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Most of the names of the Organ Systems reflect the specific organs that they represent. The Organ Systems not only affect their associated organs, but have an effect on other parts of the body too. The Organ Systems affect the entire human body. Acupuncture, by stimulating specific acupuncture points, is able to regulate the Yin and Yang and Qi in the body and, therefore, treat the sickness or disorder

(http://kizuna.ins.cwru.edu/asia110/projects/Tang2/phil.html).

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain describes pain that persists over long periods of time. It handicaps the normal lifestyle and quality of one’s life (http://www.asri.edu/neuro/brochure/pain1.htm).

In the United States, over 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. The annual cost of chronic pain is around $100 billion. Moreover, 46% of the people suffering from chronic pain lack adequate pain relief (http://www.painfoundation.org/painful.htm).

Claims of Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Acupuncture has been claimed as an effective treatment for certain chronic pain. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Conference Statement stated in November 1997 that that there is "clear evidence for acupuncture’s efficacy for treating postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, the nausea of pregnancy, and postoperative dental pain." The NIH panel concludes that acupuncture may be an
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