While just the thought of needles may cause pain for some people, these sharp instruments can be used to alleviate pain through acupuncture.

A recent India Times article dug into the ancient Chinese medical practice, which centers around the insertion of fine needles through specific points in the skin to relieve pain or help cure disease.

In many Asian communities, acupuncture is often used for pain relief. However, it is not yet widely utilized in hospitals, despite growing proof of its effectiveness.

The world’s largest randomized controlled trial on the topic, led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, found that acupuncture is not only effective in easing pain, but is just as effective as pain medicine in providing long-term relief for emergency-room patients.

The treatment could be a great option for patients who come to the emergency room in considerable pain, but can’t take standard pain-relief drugs because of conflicts with other medical conditions. Moreover, acupuncture could be an alternative to treating pain with addictive opioids, such as morphine.

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