The Benefits Of Acupuncture
Updated: Sep 15
Acupuncture is one of the oldest continuously practiced forms of traditional medicine having been used in China for at least 3,000 years, with some evidence dating back more than 5,000 years.
In a nutshell, acupuncture is the practice of inserting small thin needles into the skin at specific points around the body. In Chinese traditional medicine, the health of the body is focussed on maintaining a healthy life-force known as chi or qi (chee), by keeping the balance between the opposing forces known as yin and yang. The theory behind acupuncture is that by stimulating certain pressure points in the body through the insertion of acupuncture needles, that the balance between yin and yang can be centered, thus improving the overall health of the patient.
In modern acupuncture, one of the most common uses is for treating chronic pain, especially lower back pain. Acupuncture can also help with the pain of migraine headaches, arthritic joint pain. Acupuncture is also commonly used to reduce nausea after an operation or during cancer treatments. Acupuncture has also been found to help with some sleep disorders.
The risks of acupuncture are relatively low, with a small chance of localized soreness or bruising after treatment. It is crucial that you only seek treatment from a qualified acupuncturist, and that they use only thoroughly sterilized needles at all times to avoid the risk of infection.
An initial treatment may take up to an hour so that your acupuncturist can discuss your health and medical history. They might also examine the color of your face and tongue, the strength of your pulse, and the part of your body causing you pain. Subsequent treatments are generally shorter than the initial examination.
During a treatment, an acupuncturist will insert small thin needles into various points in your body at various depths. In most cases, you won't feel any pain or discomfort from the procedure. Between 5 and 20 needles are used for most procedures and remain in place while you lie still for ten to twenty minutes. The acupuncturist might also manipulate or twirl some of the needles, or heat them, or even apply small electrical currents to some needles. Once more, you should little discomfort from these procedures, if any.
Many patients claim to feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But also be aware that not everyone responds the same to acupuncture. If this is you, then you may need to look into modern alternatives to pain relief.
If you a needle-phobic (otherwise known as trypanophobia), there are some non-invasive alternatives such as acupressure treatments. Instead of needles, your acupuncturist will use their fingers or other objects to apply pressure to the acupuncture points throughout your body. You might also like to try cupping treatment where local suction is created on the skin with the application of heated cups.
But no matter the type of treatment, acupuncture is something to consider among a range of treatments to help you treat and overcome the symptoms of chronic pain. It's certainly won't hurt to try, no pun intended.