Acupuncture is considered a panacea in Oriental medicine, but modern medicine acknowledges only limited efficacy as alternative treatment for some diseases, saying it has not been scientifically proven. Yet in both East and West, acupuncture is believed to be effective in treating pain, cerebral disease, and addiction and as anesthesia.
Acupuncture is used to treat various pains like lumbago, headache and toothache. It is also used as anesthesia. A few years ago, a Chinese hospital broadcast brain surgery on a patient who had been anesthetized with acupuncture alone, which shocked many around the world. It can also be effective in treating cerebral and central nervous diseases like stroke, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer'.
It can help those who want to quit smoking by reducing the secretion of dopamine, a chemical in the brain whose secretion is activated by nicotine in cigarettes or caffeine in coffee. In addition, the U.S. and other nations are working to find out whether it can be used to treat drug addiction.
But it isn't for everyone. It can even be harmful, say practitioners, when a person has lost their strength due to excessive sex, got drunk, feels emotional or angry, works too hard, has eaten too much or nothing, is thirsty, or feels too anxious.
It should not be practiced on people who suffered excessive bleeding or perspiration, or suffer from diarrhea. It is also not recommended for women who lost a lot of blood while delivering a child or patients with unhealed scars after surgical operation, terminal cancer or hemophilia.
Experts advise against taking a shower or bath for two hours after acupuncture because it can further sap strength, or infect the spots where needles are placed.
It is a myth that acupuncture should draw blood -- some believe that this is "bad blood" coming out. But properly administered, acupuncture does not cause bleeding. If you bleed after acupuncture, stop it by pressing on the wound with sterilized cotton balls, as you would after getting an injection.