STRAIGHT TO THE POINT; as Scientists Prove Acupuncture DOES Beat Pain, Could It Really Help You?

Article excerpt

Byline: ROGER DOBSON

DESPITE being dismissed by many as a pseudo science, new research has found that acupuncture does work. Scientists say the treatment, which involves sticking needles into the body, triggers a flood of natural painkillers.

The research on animals showed that during and immediately after treatment, levels of the painkiller adenosine increased more than 20-fold and pain was reduced by two-thirds. So should we all be rushing out to have the ancient Chinese therapy for our aches and pains?

What is it?

ACUPUNCTURe is a complementary treatment involving putting needles into various 'pressure points' in the body. It has been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine for at least 3,000 years and in Western countries since the Seventies.

What's the theory?

The Chinese believe we all have energy called Qi -- pronounced chee -- flowing through the body along channels called meridians. The theory is that we become ill when this energy flow is interrupted and inserting tiny needles into socalled 'trigger points' around the body can restore the flow.

What is it used for?

ACUPUNCTURe is used for a huge range of diseases and disor-ders, including arthritis, headache and migraine, sinusitis, neck and back pain, joint pain, hot flushes, allergies, hay fever, eczema, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility and insomnia.

Any evidence it works?

The jury is out. Research suggests the most promising area for acupuncture is conditions involving pain and inflammation. One Munich University study of hip and knee osteoarthritis, for example, based on more than 700 patients, found that acupuncture can significantly lower pain levels and improve quality of life. Meanwhile, a U.S. study showed that those who had acupuncture for headaches took 15 per cent fewer sick days compared to those who did not have the treatment.

However, despite its growing popularity in pregnancy and during labour, five trials involving 2,000 women, found that acupuncture did not help with labour pains. …