Acupuncture is one of the oldest established medical techniques in the world.
It first started when ancient warriors began to notice that although
they were being wounded by enemy arrows the pain of long standing
aches and pains no longer gave them so much trouble. They gradually
learned how and where to prick themselves with arrows to get rid
of their chronic pains. Eventually thin bronze needles were invented
to replace the arrows and today acupuncture needles are made of
very thin stainless steel or copper.
Sadly, there are still many sceptics in the medical establishment
who refuse to accept acupuncture because it is not a part of orthodox
medicine. However, acupuncture treatment is widely available and
the World Health Organisation announced several years ago that it
should be taken seriously. Acupuncture is available for free in
the United Kingdom through the National Health Service.
There is a considerable amount of evidence available now to show
that acupuncture can, and often does, work. And backache (together
with other bone and joint disorders) is one of the problems which
is most likely to be treated effectively.
Although a massive amount of research has been done to try to find
out how acupuncture works there is still a considerable mystery
about this. The Chinese traditionally believe that the body had
as internal energy force called "chi" which flows around
the body via a system of channels or meridians. Illness can be caused
by one of the channels becoming blocked. They claim that acupuncture
works by removing blockages through the insertion of needles into
one or several of the 1000 acupuncture points around the body. This
allows energy to travel more freely around the body. Other theories
include those who believe that acupuncture may work by stimulating
the patient's own body to produce endorphins - or natural, pain
relieving hormones. A third group of scientists have suggested that
acupuncture may work by blocking the pathways along which pain impulses
However acupuncture works there is no longer any doubt that it
can, and frequently does, work.
It is however, important to make sure that you visit a properly
trained acupuncture specialist for in the wrong hands acupuncture
needles can undoubtedly be dangerous. Before commencing treatment
a skilled acupuncturist should ask you about your symptoms and make
a diagnosis in much the same way as an orthodox doctor would.