Can Acupuncture Help You?
Some people are wary of acupuncture, imagining themselves being poked and pierced by dozens of long, sharp needles. But acupuncture is in fact a generally painless practice that can help with a wide variety of health concerns such as pain, inflammation and fatigue.
How It Works
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe in the flow of energy called Qi (pronounced chi). This energy circulates throughout the body via pathways called meridians. There are twelve main meridians, or channels, associated with specific organs in the body. These meridians can become blocked, clogging the flow of energy in the body. That’s where the needles come in. Because meridians run close to the skin’s surface, they can be accessed by acupuncture needles which loosen the blocks and restore the proper flow of energy within the body.
While this might sound a bit “out-there” for some, numerous scientific studies support the effects of acupuncture, highlighting the intricate neurochemical reactions in the brain and nervous system. While much still remains a mystery, the widely reported benefits would seem to indicate that there is something to this ancient practice.
First, your acupuncturist will perform an initial evaluation of your medical history and current health state. Your acupuncturist will then palpate various pressure points and create a treatment regimen based on the findings. Most treatment plans involve a series of 10 to 20 sessions, ranging anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. The acupuncture needles will be placed carefully at specific meridian points and remain in place for some time. While it’s common to notice a mild sensation at the insertion points, most patients do not experience any pain.
Following your treatment, you may feel tired, or quite the opposite—some patients report feeling a surge of energy. You may experience an immediate relief of symptoms, or you may start noticing improvements after a few sessions. Each person’s response is individual and unique. If you feel concerned by any sensations, don’t hesitate to mention them to your acupuncturist.
Risks & Side Effects
In general, acupuncture is extremely safe. However, there are risks associated with any medical procedure. In rare cases, acupuncture can present the following risks: infection, minor bleeding, small bruises and dizziness.
You can greatly minimize these potential side effects by choosing a licensed acupuncturist who adheres to the rules and regulations of a governing organization or association. It should also be noted that acupuncture is used to complement your current medical therapy and should not entirely replace your existing medications and treatments.
When it comes to these needles, have no fear. Acupuncture is an ancient and generally painless practice that taps into the body’s own self-healing potential, resulting in increased energy, health and vitality.