Acupuncture technique for treating certain painful conditions and for producing regional anesthesia by passing long thin needles through the skin to specific points. This traditional Chinese form of treatment has gained much popularity in Bangladesh and in many western countries in recent years. Acupuncture has been applied as a therapeutic medical technique in China for over 2000 years. Today it is being used worldwide because of the simplicity of its application, its minimal side effects and its low cost. It involves the insertion of thin siliform needles into various parts of the body to treat a variety of diseases including allergy, insomnia, asthma, sinusitis, migraine, bacterial infection, and degenerative diseases. The acupuncture needles are pushed into the acupuncture points (a total of 657 of such points have so far been identified) in the human body which are regarded as the entrance and exit points for vital energy. After insertion, the needles are usually left in position for about 15 to 30 minutes and are manipulated in twirling or push/pull movements, or activated by pulsed electrical simulation to stimulate the acupuncture points either to tone up or disperse the energy. It is believed that this toning-up and dispersion process brings about a balancing of the vital energy and ensures its free circulation within the body, which eventually cures the disease and restores normal health.

Although of recent introduction, acupuncture is being increasingly employed in Bangladesh, particularly for some specialist treatments. A number of acupuncture clinics have been opened in the country. In many countries, including Bangladesh, acupuncture has also been successfully used for the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases such as low back pain, frozen shoulder or neck pain, as well as sciatica and other nervous diseases. Surgical operations under acupuncture analgesia are also slowly gaining popularity. [Abdul Ghani]