Acupuncture has helped treat symptoms of illness for hundreds of years, and its history has led some medical doctors to incorporate the treatment into their medical practice. Dr. David Smith, Chancellor of the Texas Tech University system, says this is one alternative treatment that's not a pain.
Dr. Tommie Farrell with the Texas Tech Medical Center says more patients can benefit from acupuncture when other treatments have been exhausted.
"Acupuncture is taking sterilized, specialized needles, inserting them in the body in a way that helps promote natural healing through the body's own energy sources," explains Dr. Farrell.
Acupuncture can be used to help treat pain, sleep disorders, or depression and can be a sole source of treatment or be used with other treatments.
"Pain is the most common application we have here in America for acupuncture. Many people experience pain, we don't completely understand it, and so they go through a lot of different treatment modalities trying to get control of their pain. It's difficult and doesn't always work and acupuncture adds another tool for a physician to use to try to treat a person's pain," he adds.
Each patient responds differently to acupuncture because the treatment is based on the individual's natural personality and physical make-up.
Having an acupuncturist, who is also a trained physician, blends the science of two worlds, western and eastern medicine, and at the same time, assures you that the physician won't miss most serious problems.
If you're worried about needles, Dr. Smith says there is nothing to be afraid of. Since the acupuncture needles are not hollow, infection rates are very low. If you have a phobia of needles, your doctor should be able to calm your fears.