Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese Medicine involving the insertion of thin metallic needles through the skin at strategic points on the body. The use of acupuncture in Chinese medicine is based on the principle that there exists an energy or life force, called qui, which flows through pathways in the body and regulates bodily functions. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease, and acupuncture is believed to correct imbalances in the flow.
Western medicine, on the other hand, explains acupuncture as a technique for stimulating nerves, muscles, and connective tissue in order to increase blood flow and enhance the activity of the body’s natural pain killers.
In the West, acupuncture is commonly used as a form of symptomatic relief of a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s.
Acupuncture as an alternative therapy should be a part of the discussion on comprehensive care. Patients must be cautious about substituting less well-studied treatments for those that have been proven to work. An additive approach may be considered.
Several small studies have found that acupuncture treatment may have therapeutic benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, including those related to cognitive ability, anxiety, and depression.
There is no clear evidence available that establishes the clinical efficacy of acupuncture in reducing disease progression. Some patients find that it provides relief from MS-related symptoms, including pain, spasticity, numbness, tingling, bladder problems, and depression.
Research has suggested that acupuncture treatment may relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Some studies have found that acupuncture has therapeutic effects in reducing dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing, as well as digestive impairments due to stress. Some people with Parkinson’s also find that acupuncture helps them sleep and rest better.