October 24 is Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Day
Ancient Energy-Balancing and Pain-Relieving Therapies
The popularity of acupuncture in the United States is increasing steadily, according to a study of Americans’ use of the ancient Chinese energy-balancing technique, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Researchers found that in 2007, 6 percent of adult Americans included acupuncture as part of their regular health care regimen, up 42 percent from 2002 (at that time, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine also reported that 60 percent of adults surveyed considered acupuncture as a treatment option).
Most commonly used for pain relief, acupuncture is based on the theory that needle stimulation of specific points on the body’s energy channels, called meridians, corrects imbalances and helps restore health. Some Western experts believe that the needles stimulate pain-sensing nerves, which trigger the brain to release endorphins, the body’s pain-relieving chemicals.
Former President Richard Nixon is generally credited with popularizing acupuncture in the West after he toured medical facilities during his visit to China in 1972. New York Times reporter James Reston, who was traveling with Nixon and underwent an emergency appendectomy during the trip, wrote extensively about the post-operative pain relief he experienced.