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The word “acupuncture” is Latin and simply refers to “piercing with a sharp instrument.” The technique has been used in veterinary practice for at least 3,000 years. During a treatment, small, sterile, stainless-steel needles are inserted into specific points of the body to stimulate the nervous system and cause a desired effect.
Acupuncture is especially indicated for functional problems such as those involving pain, non-infectious inflammation and nerve injuries. It can also be used along with conventional treatments for internal medical issues.
It works primarily through the central nervous system and is known to affect all major physiological systems. Acupuncture can have many beneficial effects such as increased circulation, release of neurochemicals and hormones, muscle spasm relief and a stimulation to the immune system.
There are at least four distinct acupuncture therapies with different rationales and efficacies:
Based on the philosophical and medical understanding of the ancient Chinese.
Based on current neuroanatomical and physiological understandings. Scientific acupuncture seeks to show effectiveness through controlled, clinical trials and to understand why the modality of acupuncture works.
The treatment of tender “muscle knots” and alleviating the pain emanating from the points, also known as myofascial pain syndrome.
Used primarily in cases of chronic pain such as with arthritis. Also used when additional stimulation of the nerves at acupuncture points is desired.