The practice of acupuncture is believed to originate from China. Sharpened stones and long sharp bones were used instead of what we are use today, needles.
Acupuncture theory believes that if energy, called Qi, is flowing throughout your body, it can be channelled to promote balance and health in your body.
The practice of acupuncture once declined but was revived in 1949 when the government of China brought acupuncture into practice again. Several research institutes were established and the service provided in some of their hospitals.
Acupuncture and neurology
Vast research has been conducted to test and evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for several health conditions. Some researches claim it works by balancing the energy of the body while others claim it has a neurological effect.
Scientists have used neuroscience to understand and explain how acupuncture works and gives benefit to the human body.
The acupuncture points are seen as places where connective tissue, nerves and muscles can be stimulated, which increases blood flow and triggers the activity of a natural painkiller.
Treating muscle and joint problems
Research conducted in Germany shows that acupuncture helps with some aspects of musculoskeletal pain. Affected muscles, bones and joint problems such as lower back pain, neck pain, knee pain, muscle cramps as well as headaches can benefit from it.
The World Health Organization lists a number of health conditions that acupuncture has been proven to treat effectively. These conditions include muscle and joint-associated problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, sprains, tennis elbow and sciatica.
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture states that acupuncture can reduce muscle spasms, tremors, tics and contractions.
All these muscle cramp conditions commonly happen among athletes and persons with an active lifestyle.
Two types of acupuncture
Research on two groups of muscle pain sufferers was conducted by the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Nippon Dental University in Japan.
The groups were divided into two types of acupuncture treatments; “ashi” treatment (accurate pain point) and “sham” treatment (inaccurate pain point).
The study found that both types of treatment reduced muscle pain with no significant difference between them.
Experts from the international community have pooled the results from 29 studies involving almost 18,000 participants who had acupuncture, “sham” acupuncture or no acupuncture at all.
They concluded that acupuncture relieved chronic pain like muscle-associated back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain by about 50%. These findings are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller
When needles are inserted into the body through acupuncture treatment, the body releases hormones called Endorphins.
Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller, secreted within your brain and nervous system to help the body to feel relaxed and alert. As a result, tense muscles no longer transmit pain to the body and reduce any pain and muscle-associated problems.
It is important to seek a professional and licensed practitioner or acupuncturist if you decide to try this treatment for your muscle cramp problem. Acupuncture may be effective to treat your problems, but it is not an alternative or substitute for proper medical care by a physician.
Consult your doctor for any changes you plan to make and don’t lower your medication doses without your doctor’s approval.