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Acupuncture used for anaesthesia
By Jane Charilaou
Patients in the US are increasingly being offered acupuncture as an alternative or compliment to chemical anaesthesia for some types of surgery. It is said that the use of acupuncture means less use of potentially dangerous anaesthetic drugs, whilst also minimising side effects and helping to speed recovery. The way it works is that very fine needles are inserted into the patient at specific points that induce a deep meditative state. It’s especially useful for pregnant or nursing mothers who need surgery but want to minimise the transmission of drugs to their babies.
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture is just as effective as opiate drugs for pain relief. Add to this that acupuncture is less expensive than mainstream medicine and it’s not surprising that training centres across the US are seeing a surge in interest. Dr Rebecca Knight, a consultant surgeon who often recommends acupuncture for her patients explained, “A lot of people are anxious when they come into the operating room, and acupuncture helps them to relax.”