As you likely know, neuropathy has a wide variety of symptoms such as the uncomfortable sensation of pins and needles, or perhaps a burning pain, or even paralysis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it may be time to experiment with acupuncture, as it commonly provides relief against these symptoms.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into particular points in the body known as ‘acupuncture/pressure points’. There are roughly 350 of these points in the body as identified through years of acupuncture practice in Ancient China, where the technique originated. The purpose of this practice is to balance the energy within one’s body known as qi. Qi is said to be energy which accompanies most aspects of material. It is said that acupuncture re-balances an energy flow, or qi, by needling these pressure points. Additional research in fields of neuroscience have drawn links between how acupuncture influences the activity of adenosine. Adenosine is an amino acid which becomes active in the skin after an injury to ease the pain and thus this may explain some of acupuncture’s action towards pain relief. Furthermore, it Is said to stimulate blood flow while triggering the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins. Whether this is the mechanism of action behind acupuncture or not is not entirely known, but the point of the matter is that it has had positive effects on conditions such as emotional disorders, pain relief, and those with digestive complaints. With regards to neuropathy, acupuncture is sought for its pain relieving properties as well as its ability to regain sense in certain areas which have lost feeling.
Side Effects and Who Shouldn’t Use Acupuncture
Overall, acupuncture is a sage method for treating neuropathy and other issues when performed correctly. Issues may arise when a needle is inserted too deep, or when non-sterile needles are used. It is for these reasons that one should find an acupuncture therapist who is experienced, can provide testimonials and credentials for review. You may want to consider speaking with your family doctor prior to undergoing acupuncture as he or she may be able to recommend an acupuncture therapist, or may advise for or against this treatment option. Anyone with a bleeding disorder or those who are on blood thinning medications should not undergo acupuncture as the needle sites may have difficulty healing. Additionally, acupuncture is not recommended for pregnant women as there is potential to trigger early labour or premature delivery.
For more on acupuncture also see: #29 Acupuncture and Pain Relief
“Learning & Resource Center Articles.” Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture Information/Detail/Treating Peripheral Neuropathy with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Nordqvist, Christian. “Acupuncture: How it works, uses, benefits, and risks.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 21 Dec. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156488.php.
“What is Acupuncture? | Benefits of Acupuncture | Acupuncture Treatment.” DrWeil.com, 18 Oct. 2017, www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/
Sabrina Martini is a student entering the 4th year of her Bachelors of Science, majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge.