What Is Acupuncture? Acupuncture is a practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which involves the insertion of very thin, long, metallic needles into the skin to stimulate certain points on the body. The needles may be manipulated by a qualified practitioner’s hands or by electrical stimulation. Acupuncture can be used to correct imbalances in the flow of energy, also known as our chi or qi. In TCM, it is believed that our chi flows through pathways in our bodies called meridians. These meridians correlate to both nerve stimulation as well as various ailments. Acupuncturists can also insert needles into specific pressure points to restore balance.
What can Acupuncture Help With? Mental/Emotional Struggles:
Physical Concerns (Upper Body):
Physical Concerns (Full Body):
High Blood Pressure
Irritable bowel syndrome
Colds and Flu
Chronic back pain, neck pain, sciatica
"Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management."
The risks of acupuncture are low if you have a competent, certified acupuncture practitioner. Common side effects include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted. Single-use, disposable needles are now the practice standard, so the risk of infection is minimal. Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture. You may be at risk of complications if you:
Pregnant (needling in the abdominal area should be avoided)
Patient with uncontrolled movements
The very young
What is an Acupuncture Treatment Like?
During an acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist inserts very thin needles into specific spots on your body. Insertion of the needles usually causes little to no discomfort. Each person who performs acupuncture has a unique style, often blending aspects of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine. To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most, your practitioner may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors and lifestyle. He or she may also closely examine:
The parts of your body that are painful
The shape, coating and color of your tongue
The color of your face
The strength, rhythm and quality of the pulse in your wrist
This initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 70 minutes. Subsequent appointments can take as little as 30 minutes to treat. A common treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve one or two treatments a week.
The number of treatments will depend on the condition being treated and its severity. In general, it's common to receive six to eight treatments. During the procedureAcupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown, towel or sheet will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:
Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at strategic points on your body. The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. People often don't feel them inserted at all. Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.
Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.
Needle removal. In most cases, the needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.
After the procedureSome people feel relaxed and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don't begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.
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