Acupuncture is a type of alternative medicine that involves puncturing the skin with needles at specific points to alleviate symptoms of various health problems and promote relaxation.
The origin of acupuncture was in China around 3000 years ago. The first documentation of this ancient practice that refers to it as an organized system of diagnosis and treatment is the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. This ancient treatise on health, disease, and healing was written around 2600 BC, and it is one of the most important documents in Chinese history.
What health conditions can acupuncture manage?
Acupuncture is also considered helpful for the management of infertility, immune system problems, menopause, irritable bowel syndrome, pregnancy complications, and side effects of some cancer treatments. Acupuncture can help manage a wide range of health problems, such as:
- Neck pain
- Low back pain
- Muscle pain
- Knee pain
- Dental pain and TMJ
- Morning sickness
- Peptic ulcer
- Tennis elbow
- Allergic rhinitis and other respiratory disorders
- Headaches and migraines
- Menstrual cramps
- Sports injuries
- Postoperative and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
What are the advantages of acupuncture?
The advantages of acupuncture include the following:
- Safe and minimally-invasive practice
- It can be performed alongside most conventional therapeutics
- Versatility in terms of health problems treated
- A flexible type of therapy that can target multiple health concerns at the same time
- Improves mood
- Better quality of sleep
- Stronger immune system
- Energy boost
- Patient-centric i.e., the number of sessions depends entirely on each patient
What to expect from acupuncture?
What you can expect from acupuncture is that the practitioner will first ask questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, and behavior in order to develop the proper approach. Acupuncture focuses on patients and their precise needs. The practitioner may also examine the areas on the body that are painful, the color of your face, and the strength or quality of the pulse in your wrist.
You can also expect one session to last around 60 minutes, but sometimes they are shorter such as 20 minutes. Patients with a single heath-related complaint may need one or two sessions a week for the best results. Six to eight treatments are sometimes necessary, but the exact number depends on the severity of a health problem and how you respond to acupuncture.
Before the beginning of each session, the acupuncturist educates you about different pressure points and where they are. Sometimes these spots aren’t even near the area where you feel pain.
As you lie on the table, the acupuncturist starts activating the pressure points with needles. Generally speaking, they can use anywhere from five to 20 needles. It’s important to mention that acupuncture needles are disposable, single-use, and sterile.
Once the needle is placed, the acupuncturist may twirl or move it. This is done to make sure the needle is at a specific depth so that it can do its job and stimulate qi. Keep in mind acupuncture isn’t overly painful or uncomfortable; you may just feel a tingling or stinging sensation.
Once all the needles are placed, you will spend 10 to 15 minutes lying down and focusing on calmness and relaxation. Then, the acupuncturist will remove the needles.
During the first session, it may be tricky to lie still for 15 minutes and do nothing but focus on calmness, but with the subsequent appointments, it becomes easier. That’s why acupuncture is good for mental health as well as physical well-being.
You can expect to feel energetic yet calm after the acupuncture appointment. At the end of each session, the practitioner will inform you regarding the next appointment, i.e., how frequently you should get acupuncture.
Rooted in Chinese Medicine
As one of the most significant components of Chinese traditional medicine, acupuncture focuses on balancing qi (chi), i.e., the flow of energy or life force. Qi flows through the meridians (pathways) in our body. It is believed qi is responsible for our overall health and well-being. When something disrupts qi or energy flow, it paves the way for problems with health.
The main use of acupuncture is to treat pain, but this ancient practice has many other applications as well. Even though acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine, today, it is practiced across the globe.
As a minimally invasive method, acupuncture causes little to no discomfort. Most people feel a small prick as the needle is inserted. For example, a blood draw is more painful and causes more discomfort than acupuncture. That happens because acupuncture needles are different than “regular” medical needles. Acupuncture needles are thinner and more solid.
Acupuncture has been around for centuries, and it has become popular across the globe. It is based on the theory that every factor that impairs your flow of energy can bring disease. The benefits of acupuncture are numerous, ranging from energy boost to management of specific health problems. Acupuncture has a wide spectrum of applications, including respiratory problems, pain in joints, stress, headaches, migraines, and so much more. The length of each session and the number of appointments necessary may vary from one patient to another.