Acupuncture was developed by traditional Chinese medical practitioners to treat a wide range of health problems. Once only used in Eastern cultures, it has gradually gained acceptance by medical professionals in the West. Acupuncture is now commonly used to treat everything from pain, stress, and nausea. Lesser-known uses, such as the treatment of allergies, are also gaining popularity.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that started in what is now China. It’s based on the belief that life energy, called qi, pronounced “chee,” flows throughout the body along pathways called meridians. By inserting thin needles at specific points, called “acupuncture points,” skilled practitioners seek to restore the flow of energy to eliminate pain and other ailments.
Western medicine doesn’t accept the traditional explanation of acupuncture’s mechanism of action. No evidence that meridians exist has ever been documented by modern science, but despite ongoing questions regarding how it works, science has shown that at least in some instances, it does work. Pain relief is one example. Controlled clinical trials have shown that acupuncture can relieve pain, sometimes better than drugs, in conditions such as chronic lower back pain, migraines, neck pain, and post-operative pain.
What about using acupuncture for the treatment of allergies and eczema? Preliminary research indicates that acupuncture may help allergy and eczema symptoms.
Researchers at the University Medical Center in Berlin conducted a large, multi-center
However, the group receiving the fake acupuncture treatment also reported relief of their symptoms, though not as much as the group receiving acupuncture. Furthermore, four months later, as a follow-up, the difference between the effectiveness of the real and fake acupuncture treatment groups was less pronounced. This suggests a placebo effect may have taken place with the people receiving acupuncture, in anticipation of its beneficial effects.
If you’re interested in acupuncture therapy, start by talking to your doctor. They may be able to recommend a center or practitioner.