A TCM practice which originated several millennia ago, acupuncture holds that health issues are caused by disturbances in the body’s ‘qi’ levels. This is rectified via insertion of needles in specific points that promote relaxation, stimulate healing, restore one’s body’s energy and restore qi flow.
As per TCM theory, over a thousand acupuncture points exist on one’s body, which lies on a meridian. Different organ systems are linked with each meridian.
Researchers are yet to understand acupuncture’s working mechanisms. It is theorized that acupuncture could stimulate endorphin release. It is stated to affect the body’s autonomic system, which is responsible for body function regulation. It may also trigger the discharge of various chemicals that affect the brain, inflammation, pressure and blood flow.
Which Issues Can Acupuncture Help?
The following conditions may be helped via acupuncture :
- Weight loss
- Anxiety and Stress
- Sinus congestion
- Chronic Pain
It is used to help quit smoking, cure addictions and promote fertility. Cosmetic or facial acupuncture also exists, which is used for improving the skin’s appearance.
Advantages of Acupuncture
- Helps Back Pain
Acupuncture was linked with better function and low pain intensity when compared to subjects who underwent no treatment. However, long-term effects are still unknown, leading researchers to state that it was slightly useful for those with back pain in lower regions.
It was found after reviewing over 22 trials that acupuncture helped reduce migraine episode frequency.
- Knee Pain
Osteoarthritis-affected people who had chronic knee joint pain experienced positive effects after acupuncture treatments. However, it only provided relief in the short run. Opioid medication necessity was also delayed by those who underwent acupuncture sessions.
- Tension Headaches
One review of 12 trials involving 2349 participants found that those who had 6 or more acupuncture sessions helped with tension headaches.
How Does An Acupuncture Treatment Look Like?
Prior to the treatment, an acupuncturist will take down a complete health history about you, including lifestyle habits, stress levels, sleep, diet and health concerns. Your appearance will also be noted, along with tongue coating and color, voice and complexion. Your pulse’s rhythm, strength, and quality will be noted too since these are said to reflect on your health.
Around 6-15 needles will be used during an acupuncture treatment and these are left for ten to twenty minutes. The following additional techniques may also be used :
- Moxibustion – Heated dry herb sticks are held close to the needles for stimulating these acupuncture points.
- Herbs – These may be administered in capsules, teas or pill form.
- Electroacupuncture – Electric currents are used to stimulate acupuncture points.
- Laser Acupuncture – This treatment eliminates the need for needles.
- Cupping – Cups made of glass are used, which relieve blood and qi stagnation.
Ear acupuncture may be used for treating anxiety, addictions, smoking cessations, and weight loss.
The 1st visit may be for 60 minutes, with subsequent sessions lasting 20-30 minutes.
Is Acupuncture Painful
A slight ache, pinch or sting may be felt when the needle is inserted. Acupuncture needles are usually manipulated after insertion by using electric current or pulse, moving the needle, rotating or twirling it. The resulting ache, heavy sensation, numbness or tingling is termed to be therapeutic. However, if it becomes too much for you, notify the corned acupuncturist immediately.
Does Acupuncture Have Any Side Effects?
Acupuncture does come with a certain amount of risks. Insertion of needles can cause bleeding and pain. Other effects include infections, fainting, dizziness, nausea, bruising, allergic reactions, and skin rashes.
Go for acupuncture treatments only from a trained and licensed practitioner. Use disposable and sterile needles only.
Acupuncture may also cause tissue and organ injuries, hemorrhage, spinal cord or CNS injury, punctured organs, complications due to needle pieces or needle breakage, blood vessel and nerve injury and infections. Collapsed lungs are also possible due to punctures in pleural membranes.
Needles may not always be removed fully after treatment. People using blood thinners or having bleeding disorders should also not try this treatment. It shouldn’t be taken as a replacement for standard treatment.
If conventional methods fail to handle your health or pain issues, give acupuncture a shot. However, ask your physician regarding its appropriateness in your case.