Original Article Courtesy of Good Housekeeping, February
If the idea of being poked with needles sounds less than appealing, acupuncture may not be for you. But according to Good Housekeeping, new research shows that the needles help with pain relief in some cases. “German studies have shown that something is definitely going on, neurologically speaking, when acupuncture needles are in place: In a series of imaging experiments involving short electric zaps to the ankle, researchers found that when acupuncture needles were inserted before the zap, the pain centers in volunteers’ brains were significantly calmer.”
The same study also compared the pain relief when acupuncture supplemented doctor-prescribed treatment with the relief delivered by traditional treatment alone. After looking at several common ailments, including arthritis, neck pain, migraines and seasonal allergies, the subjects who received acupuncture along with standard care felt more improvement, defined as feeling at least 50 percent better, than those who received standard care alone.
Karen Sherman, senior scientific investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, says it’s worth being patient when you try acupuncture. “You probably won’t be able to tell after one visit” if it has helped, though “you don’t want to wait 20 sessions” to get relief. Most important, when considering acupuncture, look for an accredited professional. The National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (www.nccaom.org) is a good place to start your search.