Acupuncture is an ancient old healing technique of traditional Chinese Medicine. In the year 1997, the U.S. National Institute of Health publicized acupuncture’s safety and efficacy for treating a wide range of diseases and conditions.
What Are The Chinese Beliefs?
The Chinese beliefs behind acupuncture are complicated, as the old practice isn’t based on science. They believed that the body was filled with invisible life-giving energy or qi (pronounced as “chee”), and when the qi was flowing well to all the right places in the body, then a person experiences good mental and physical health.
Curious About The Term?
Acupuncture is a technique that causes the involvement of inserting very thin needles through a person’s skin at targeted points on the body, to various locations depending on the body’s condition. A licensed acupuncturist explains that acupuncture is an invasive method to stimulate nerve-rich areas of the skin surface to influence tissues, glands, etc.
Health Benefits Of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is said to have innumerable benefits and mainly is used to relieve discomfort or pain associated with various diseases and conditions, including:
- Menstrual cramps, labor pain
- Low back pain, knee pain, and osteoarthritis
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Dental ache, headaches like tension headaches, migraines
- Respiratory disorders, like allergic rhinitis, etc.
In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated varieties of conditions in which they say acupuncture has been proven quite effective, which are as follows:
- High and low blood pressure
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Gastric conditions like a peptic ulcer or dysentery
- Allergic rhinitis
- Tennis elbow, sciatica pain, facial pain
- Morning sickness
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Although acupuncture is beneficial, NCCIH advises people not to use acupuncture instead of seeing a proper health care provider.
How Does It Work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that health results from a harmonious balance of the complementary extremes of “yin” and “yang” of the life force. They call it “qi.” They believe illness to be the consequence of an imbalance of these forces. Qi energy is said to flow through pathways in the human body. These energy flows are accessible through 350 acupuncture points, which are present in the body.
It is said and believed that inserting needles into these points with appropriate combinations bring the energy flow back into proper balance. There isn’t any scientific proof that the meridians or acupuncture points exist, but numerous studies suggest that acupuncture works for certain conditions. Few experts have even used neuroscience to explain acupuncture, where they say that the points are places where muscles, nerves, and connective tissue can get stimulated.
What To Expect?
Before the first appointment, they will ask you to submit your complete health history. The acupuncturist starts by asking about your health concerns, diet, sleep, stress level, and other lifestyle habits. During your visit, the acupuncturist will also examine your appearance quite carefully, noting your complexion, tongue color, etc. The acupuncturist will take your pulse as well at three points on each wrist, noting the rhythm.
A licensed acupuncturist will examine the patient thoroughly at first and assess their health condition, accordingly will try to insert one or more thin and sterile needles. The patient will lie down on the side, depending on where the needles are inserted.
The acupuncturist must use single-use, sterile needles. As each needle gets inserted, the patient might feel a mild stinging sensation. This technique is relatively painless. Sometimes, they heat the needles or stimulate them with electricity after insertion that might cause mild pain. The needles will have to stay in place for 5 to 30 minutes. Typically, acupuncture will use anywhere from 6 to more than 20 tiny needles per treatment, but the number of treatments depends on the individual capacity and health condition.
Depending on the physical condition, a person with a chronic situation might need one to two treatments per week over several months. Acupuncture has few side effects, too, so it might be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with conventional methods.
If you are experiencing difficulty managing pain or other health ailments with conventional methods, acupuncture may be worth trying. Just be sure to check with your general physician or doctor first to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you or not.