Acupuncture, as you may know, is an ancient Chinese treatment involving the insertion of needles into specific points on your body.
Acupuncture is thought to stimulate the nervous system to release natural neuron chemicals. These chemicals, like serotonin, endorphins and cortisol, could return your body to a normal balance. Acupuncture treatments are not painful — the needles used are very thin and pass easily and effortlessly into the surface of the skin.
When it comes to depression, acupuncture could help alleviate symptoms associated with this condition. Because acupuncture helps to release chemicals like serotonin in the body, it could quite effectively lift mood. Serotonin is called the “feel good hormone” by medical researchers. It could directly affect how you respond to the world around you emotionally.
A research team based at the Institute in Medical Sciences in Shanghai, China, reviewed eight randomized, controlled trials. Four hundred seventy-seven patients in total received acupuncture treatments to relieve symptoms of depression. The researchers concluded that acupuncture significantly reduced the severity of symptoms in the patients examined.
Acupuncture also has had some promising results in the treatment of bursitis. Needles are strategically placed in and near the area of inflammation around the bursal sac. The needles, when inserted, could have the effect of relieving pain caused by inflammation.
In one clinical trial, the analgesic effect of acupuncture stimulation treatment on chronic tennis elbow pain was studied. Forty-eight patients were examined before and after treatment. All patients were examined physically by an unbiased independent examiner. Half of the patients were treated at non-segmental distal points for elbow pain following Chinese acupuncture rules. The other half was given placebo acupuncture that avoided penetration of the skin with the acupuncture needle. A total of 55.8% in the”real” acupuncture group reported an overall reduction in pain, compared to 15% in the placebo group. The average length of pain relief for those in the real acupuncture group was 20.2 hours, while in the placebo group relief lasted for only an average of 1.4 hours. The researchers concluded that acupuncture has a significant effect in the clinical treatment of tennis elbow pain.