Once considered as a very effective remedy to beat stress and manage painful joint pains, acupuncture has today found wide acceptance as a treatment to manage chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and joint pains caused by arthritis and sinusitis.
It is also used to manage the side effects of cancer therapy and Parkinson's disease, improve impaired vision, and even bring people out of paralysis and coma.
"It is being increasingly used as an analgesic for painless childbirth and to smooth out wrinkles in place of Botox, where it is proving to be a safe option with efficient results," said Delhi-based practitioner Raman Kapur, who heads the department of acupuncture, Ganga Ram Hospital.
It has also shown results in children suffering from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and other learning disabilities.
"It is completely safe provided it is conducted by an experienced practitioner," said Kapur, who organised a two-day international conference and workshop to showcase new treatment trends in acupuncture to doctors, acupuncturists and physicians from across India.
Inserting needles into the body sounds painful, but Kapur assures there is a painless procedure as well.
"For people who are apprehensive of needles, we have laser puncture and colour puncture, where we make laser and colours vibrate at a particular frequency and then use the frequency to stimulate the acupuncture points without actually puncturing the skin," says Kapur, who uses both the techniques.
The Chinese believe that there is an energy flow through the human body, and the obstruction of this flow is what causes ailments and sickness. Manipulating the energy and removing the obstruction can cure these ailments.
"The process involves a sterile needle pricking the skin at the acupuncture point, and entering the muscle tissue, finally touching the nerve ending," explains Kapur. Each session costs Rs.1,000 though prices vary across clinics.