Acupuncture is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning. This is done by inserting needles and applying heat or electrical stimulation at very precise acupuncture points.
What Is Acupuncture Able to Treat?
It is used to treat conditions like:
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Chronic back problems and pain
- Muscle spasms and pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Digestive problems
Is It Safe?
It is important to always go to a practitioner that is well-trained in acupuncture as well as to a facility that is very careful about using clean needles — improperly performed acupuncture and/or contaminated needles can pose a big risk.
Helps reduce headaches and migraines
Improves chronic pain, including back, neck, knee and arthritis pain
Helps treat insomnia
Helps prevent cognitive decline
Acupuncture points, or “acupoints,” are specific locations on the body that are the focus of acupuncture treatments.
- There are 14 major energy-channel meridians on the body, with hundreds of points located along each meridian where acupuncture needles are inserted.
- These include some 360 different points on the hands, arms, feet, head, back and over the major organs. The belief is that by inserting needles lightly into certain points on the body, the chi flow can be tapped into and the patient’s energy can be rebalanced.
- Acupuncture points tend to be located where nerves enter a muscle, the midpoint of a muscle, or at a point where muscle joins with bone.
Some of the major meridians include:
• Lung Meridian
• Large Intestine Meridian
• Stomach Meridian
• Spleen Meridian
• Heart Meridian
• Small Intestine Meridian
• Urinary Bladder Meridian
• Kidney Meridian
• Liver Meridian
How Does It Work?
Acupuncture is considered to be a family of procedures, not one single exact approach to pain or disease management. All acupuncture practices involve the stimulation of specific points on the body using a variety of techniques, usually needles. Acupuncture is usually done by hand, with a trained practitioner carefully inserting the needles into specific points in the body very shallowly into the skin. Normally about 10 to 20 thin needles are used at one time. The needles are small enough to fit inside of a normal-sized needle that would be used to take blood, making the process pretty painless for most people.
There are also types of acupuncture that use light electrical stimulations that flow through the needles, or no needles at all. For example, acupressure is often thought of as simply “acupuncture without the needles” and uses targeted massage-type techniques to stimulate energy in the body by pressing on certain points.
What Will I Experience?
- First, the acupuncturist will speak with you about your pain and health-related goals.
- The acupuncturist will use sterile, disposable small needles and place them along specific “meridians” on the body.
- The acupuncturist will check for “pulses” on the body by gently placing their fingers or hand on the patient’s body to feel how the patient’s energy is flowing. Redness can also occur around a needle site, and this is thought to be a sign that as energy is not balanced in that area.
- The needles will usually stay in for a short period of time while the patent’s energy is reworking and balancing itself.
- After the needles are removed, the patient can go about their day and are usually advised to drink plenty of water in an effort to help the detoxifying process.
Is Acupuncture a Viable Therapy Option?
Yes, especially for chronic pain. Pain is a reciprocating signal from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain telling it that something is wrong. The more pain the body feels, the more it expects and can experience that pain. While often there is a real reason for pain, often the experience of the pain can be debilitating more than the actual cause of the dysfunction. Acupuncture is a promising solution to the chronic pain sufferers that have come to expect pain and thus experience heightened levels of pain and trauma.
As with many natural therapies, including new mainstream mind-body awareness therapies, how the patient perceives and receives the treatment can influence the benefits. This is why focused breathing, bio-feedback, and other alternative treatments are now being implemented in mainstream medicine.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician’s advice. Please always consult your physician for your medical needs.
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