For centuries already, acupuncture has been widely used by Asian people to treat various body conditions and to relieve pain. Now, it has come across the globe and is also used in the United States and other Western countries to ease any kind of pain. Read on and learn about this traditional and effective method of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is done by inserting very fine and sterile needles into the person’s skin, specifically at the ‘acupoints’. The pain relief occurs when endorphins are released upon the procedure of acupuncture. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-killers, and it affects the brain parts involved with a person’s mood. The effects can also be enhanced with the use of pressure, electrical stimulation, or heat.
It is known to improve the body’s functions and helps in promoting the natural process of self-healing through the stimulation of acupoints or acupuncture points, the specific anatomic sites involved in acupuncture.
Some other acupoint stimulation methods include the following: cupping therapy, massage, heat therapy, and the use of herbal medicines and/or liniments.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
The major advantage of acupuncture would be pain relief. As it is used by Asians for a long time now, it has been tried and tested that it can help in easing any type and severity of pain, whatever the cause and wherever it is occurring. Low back pains, nerve pains, headaches, menstrual cramps, and fibromyalgia are just a few of the illnesses and bodily discomforts treated through acupuncture.
Extensive researches have shown that acupuncture also shows effects on the person’s body systems, particularly the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems. Since acupuncture stimulates all these body systems, pain can be managed more efficiently, and it also helps in improving sleep and digestive functions, making the user feel very healthy and in a state of well-being.
What happens during an acupuncture session?
The acupuncturist will first inquire about your health. After finding out your complaints and the areas, he/she will then examine your tongue to see its shape, coating, and colour. He/she will also feel your pulse, and if needed, conduct some other physical exams which would depend on your current health needs. After the assessment, the acupuncturist can be able to draw out a treatment plan fit for you to address your conditions.
To begin the treatment, you will be lying comfortably on the treatment table, and the acupoints will be targeted and stimulated, which are found in various areas of the body. Although it deals with fine needles, it doesn’t hurt that much; some would even feel nothing at all or just minimal discomfort once the needles are inserted. It will then stay as is between 5 to 30 minutes.
How many treatments do I have to attend?
There is no fixed number of treatments and session for everyone, as it will vary from one person to another. All of us have different body chemistries, and the number of times you would have to get acupuncture would depend on your condition and your body’s reactions. Your acupuncturist will discuss a treatment plan tailored for you, and that is already assessed properly to set how many sessions do you have to attend.
What types of conditions can be treated by acupuncture?
There are seriously a lot of conditions that are known to be treated by acupuncture alone. Musculoskeletal problems, nausea, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and even infertility are said to be successfully treated through this method. There are also some case-controlled studies which have showed that acupuncture was able to contribute to the effective treatment of the following:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Hay fever
- Biliary colic
- Acute bacillary
- Facial pain
- Hypertension and hypotension
These are just a few, and there is still a long list of diseases that can be treated with the help of acupuncture, backed up with probable evidence.
Here are also some of the diseases that only has limited evidence to support but nonetheless, can be treated with acupuncture:
- Abdominal pains
- Alcohol dependence
- Pains caused by cancer
- Bell’s palsy
- Facial spasms
How to choose the right acupuncturist?
If you ever decide to give acupuncture a try, you have to make sure that you’ll inquire in a legit acupuncture place. Find an experienced and licensed acupuncturist. The requirements for acupuncturists would differ from place to place, so there are some with no licensing requirements at all. The National Certification Commission should certify your chosen acupuncturist for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and that is one thing you should always look for when getting an acupuncturist.
We all have different body chemistries, which is why some might get the effects desired even when acupuncture is done, but most of the time, it is very effective and useful as it works for most patients. Acupuncture, as a method or technique, is generally safe, and the complication rates are also the law regarding the after-effects.