Acupuncture: the best of complementary medicine [Archives:2005/907/Health]

December 29 2005

Acupuncture came to Yemen in 1965 when a team of Chinese acupuncture practitioners arrived in Sana'a. At that time, people were not familiar with this kind of treatment and the majority did not know much about it. Therefore, very few people visited Chinese acupuncturists who mainly worked in Al-Jumhuriah Hospital in Sana'a. Perhaps the media at that time did not inform people about acupuncture treatment. Additionally, acupuncture seemed to be a strange treatment to some people, while others did not attach value to it.

However, a few years later, medicine in Yemen began improving. The media presented different programs on diseases, medical consultations, health, etc. People began learning different ways of medical treatment, including acupuncture. Dr. Mohammed Ali Asda, neurologist and acupuncturist, said acupuncture's beginning in Yemen was not encouraging, but with more enlightenment, people realized the importance of this kind of healing.

In Yemen, acupuncture healing is not expensive compared with developed countries such as the U.S. and Japan. As acupuncture began in Yemen, treatment seemingly was free, whereas now days, it costs 400-500 rials. A visit to an acupuncturist in the U.S. costs $50-60, $70 in East Asia and GBP20-30 in some other Western countries.

Some people turn to acupuncture when they have hopeless cases. Abu Ahmed, age 50, said he tried acupuncture once when he found no cure for his illness. Of course, acupuncture is considered complementary medicine. Here in Yemen, most people prefer visiting acupuncture clinics when they find no improvement in their health conditions. This is because acupuncture is considered mainly a complementary medicine. However, in most cases, acupuncture proves well.

In acupuncture, the practitioner inserts solid, thin needles at appropriate points of the body. Needle length varies from half an inch (1.27 cm). Acupuncture treatment is safe, but some people get scared when they first see the needles, thinking they are painful. Improper needle insertion or a defective needle may cause pain and soreness. In fact, it all depends on the professionalism and experience of the practitioner.

According to Western medicine, acupuncture works by stimulating the Central Nervous System to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain that can alter biochemical processes in a way that may relieve pain, stimulate healing and promote physical and emotional health.

Both Eastern and Western medicines agree that acupuncture can help treat a wide variety of illnesses by relieving pain and symptoms associated with these illnesses. Acupuncture can help with conditions as diverse as abdominal and bowel problems, allergic reactions like hay fever, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, depression, kidney disorders, knee pain, labor pain, migraines, pre-menstrual syndrome, rheumatism, sciatica, shingles, sinus problems, skin and other conditions. Some research shows that acupuncture can regulate and balance the endocrine system and hormone levels.