Are you interested in using alternative medicine in lieu of harsh drugs or invasive procedures to treat chronic pain or other medical conditions? For many, the holistic treatment option of regular acupuncture treatments has an array of perks. In this article, we will go over some basic acupuncture Frequently Asked Questions to answer everything you need to know before your first appointment.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a practice originating from Chinese Traditional Medicine techniques reaching back over 3,000 years ago. During treatment, thin, sterile needles are inserted into the patient’s skin at specific locations on the body; these needles may be stimulated by electrical impulses for an enhanced effect.
Acupuncture practice details over 2,000 acupuncture points on the body which are thought to be connected to energetic pathways of the body, called meridians. The belief is that the body relies on flowing “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) or energy for holistic health; interruptions in this flow are believed to be the root of disease or pain. The practice of an acupuncturist is re-establishing the flow of this energy.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
If done correctly, acupuncture is a minimally-invasive, pleasant experience. In fact, many people do not even notice when an acupuncture needle is properly inserted. The sensation may become more noticeable if the sterile needles are heated beforehand or connected to a mild electrical current after application—however, most people describe acupuncture as relaxing or energizing, with little to no experience of pain. This is why it is increasingly offered at day spas and wellness centers as an option for alternative medicine.
Acupressure and Acupuncture: What’s the Difference?
If the thought of being stuck with dozens of needles doesn’t sit right with you, there is still the option of acupressure for improving your body’s Qi. This follows the same principles of moving Qi but applies pressure on the meridians instead of sterile needles.
Other similar forms of alternative medicine Qi therapy include moxibustion (the use of heat), friction, suction, and electromagnetic impulses on the appropriate meridians.
What Ailments Can Be Treated By Acupuncture?
While acupuncture itself has roots that go back thousands of years, it was officially recognized as safe and effective by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997. Since then, it has offered patients in the western world an alternative medicine solution to ailments like chronic pain, inflammation, addiction, and more. Here are some common ailments which can be treated with acupuncture:
- spinal pain, including lower back and neck pain
- Carpal tunnel
- Nausea caused by cancer treatments
- Menstrual cramping
- Myofascial pain
- Tennis elbow
- Stroke recovery
- Morning sickness and pregnancy-related discomfort, including malposition of the fetus
- Post-surgical pain
- Allergic rhinitis
And more! While all of the above ailments have been proven to be ameliorated through acupuncture treatment, there is an even longer list of ailments that have “limited but probable evidence” of being responsive to acupuncture. For a longer list of these maladies, click here.
How Many Visits Will I Need for Continued Treatment?
While this of course depends on the diagnosis, it also depends on the individual’s responsiveness to care. While some people see immediate results in eight treatments or so, others are prescribed twice-weekly acupuncture for several months in order to achieve relief. If you are unsure about committing to an extended acupuncture schedule, talk with your practitioner about payment options and establish checkpoints throughout your treatment plan to assess your responsiveness to Qi therapy.
Does Acupuncture Work?
As you can see, acupuncture has been successfully used to treat a wide variety of ailments, from migraines to irritable bowel syndrome. Even if you don’t believe in Qi, acupuncture and acupressure have been proven to:
- Increase blood flow and circulation, which can reduce inflammation
- Increase endorphins vital to pain tolerance
- Reduce heart rate, epinephrine, and blood pressure
- Increase adenosine, a chemical that causes the nervous system to relax
- Increase cytokines, a kind of molecule that reduces inflammation
These qualities become particularly significant when it comes to managing symptoms of larger maladies or diseases. While acupuncture may not always be prescribed to fight a bacterial infection, it has been proven to be effective against some mental health disorders like anxiety, arthritis and chronic pain, and even insomnia.
Where Can I Seek Acupuncture Treatment?
Are you interested in seeing if acupuncture works for you? This traditional healing practice has scientifically-backed results that have been helping people for thousands of years, in China and abroad. In fact, it’s not too hard to find established acupuncture care at a wellness center or day spa in the western world!
You don’t have to have chronic pain to be interested in what acupuncture can do for you. Book an acupuncture session today at a luxury day spa like The Horse Shoe Farm!