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Having been an acupuncturist for more than a decade, it seems that while acupuncture, an important component of traditional Chinese medicine, is used to cure a host of medical conditions, ranging from cancer to infertility, in Pakistan most people use it to alleviate joint pain, stiffness, sprains, muscle strains and soreness, tendonitis and fatigue.

The treatment requires fine needles to be inserted into the skin at specific pressure points as these are believed to stimulate nerve and muscle tissue, thereby regulating the flow of qi (universal life energy) throughout the body, as it is believed that blockages in the flow of qi causes illnesses. 

Recently, a new patient came to me. He is an HR Manager at a bank and he had sprained his ankle. Before I could start the treatment, he asked me: “Ye surakh band hojaenge na?” (Will the holes caused by the needles close?) “Can I have a bath or should I avoid water contact?” I smiled as I told him that the needle pores close on their own in a few minutes, and that he could have a bath afterwards.

Despite my answer, he was very nervous initially, but a few minutes after I started the treatment he started to relax. So much so that I noticed he had fallen asleep a littler later! After the session, which lasted for 20 minutes, I gently nudged him awake and asked him how he felt.

His response was, “Doctor, I haven’t felt this refreshed and pain-free in a very long time!” Although not all my patients get such immediate results, the ones who do, make my work all the more rewarding.

– Dr Nighat Tahira
The writer is an Acupuncture Consultant at Rasheed Hospital, Lahore.

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 26, 2014.