When Arjun Menon sprained his knee quite severely during a weekend football game in Dubai, little did he realise that it would leave him in pain for days. In his mid-30s and reasonably fit, Arjun remembers collapsing in pain but limping off the field eventually. When the pain continued even after a few days, the Indian expat, on the advise of a friend, decided to consult an acupuncturist… and was happy to find relief with just a few sessions.

"Acupuncture is used to speed healing, relieve pain, and increase muscle strength and endurance," says Dr Sadiq Badami, a general practitioner and a renowned, licensed acupuncturist at Good Living Medical Centre in Dubai with more than 48 years of experience.

"Several athletes worldwide turn to acupuncture to help prevent injury and promote recovery when an injury is present. It can be used to treat the pain of sports injuries because treating directly at the site of pain can reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and increase the range of motion."

Acupuncture, says the expert, offers excellent results for not just pain but a variety of health conditions.

An alternative medical treatment that forms an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body. This, with appropriate combinations, is intended to rebalance the flow of energy by stimulating the central nervous system and harmonising the patient’s vital energy. The treatment releases chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain empowering the body to heal itself promoting the patient’s physical and mental well-being.

"People often turn to acupuncture to avoid taking painkillers, which can worsen their condition, cause permanent organ damage, become addictive, or have other side effects," says the doctor.

What ailments can acupuncture cure?

"From managing acute pain due to problems such as arthritis to tackling stress and anxiety-related mental well-being issues to even helping those suffering from insomnia, acupuncture has been found to be extremely effective," says Dr Sadiq.

People often turn to acupuncture to avoid taking painkillers, which can worsen their condition, cause permanent organ damage, become addictive, or have other side effects, says Dr Badami

Stress/Anxiety: Long-term anxiety and panic attacks can cause the brain to release stress hormones on a regular basis. This can increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and depression. Stress and anxiety can cause both physical and psychological symptoms including stomach pain, headaches, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, frequent urination, change in appetite, sleep disturbances, diarrhoea and fatigue. Getting easily fatigued, being irritable, difficulty concentrating, excessive brooding and struggling to fall asleep are some other symptoms.

"Acupuncture works very well for treating people with anxiety and stress as it helps promote the release of ‘happy hormones’," says the doctor.

Insomnia: A common sleep disorder that can leave patients feeling tired when they wake up and unrested not to mention daytime drowsiness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty paying attention, can also be treated by a few sessions of acupuncture, he says. "This treatment method can help regulate the Circadian rhythms or the human body time clock."

Pain management: Pain is one of the most common reasons patients choose acupuncture as a treatment method. It is effective in treating injuries such as strains, sprains, repetitive use syndrome, swollen muscles, shin splints, and neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle pain.

Joint pain: Those suffering from arthritis, age-related joint pains or those due to an injury, neurological pain – when the nervous system is not functioning correctly due to disease or direct damage to a nerve or nerves – have found relief in this ancient system of Chinese medicine, says Dr Sadiq.

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