Acupuncture is fast becoming a popular natural treatment for pain and stress relief. This traditional Chinese medicine treatment uses very thin needles inserted at pressure points on the body and can be used in a wide range of cases. The treatment typically causes little to no discomfort and there are no side effects.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is most often used as pain relief and to promote general wellness. Practitioners insert very thin needles at various points on the patient’s body. In traditional belief, this balances the flow of energy, or chi, the life force, through meridians in the body. In terms of Western medicine, the needles stimulate nerves, muscles and tissues to boost the body’s natural painkillers.
Acupuncture has gained acceptance as an alternative medical treatment in the U.S. and around 14 million people have already undergone this treatment for various ailments. While it can be difficult to measure results, many people using this treatment have found relief from chronic pain.
What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a natural treatment for anxiety and pain relief. It can be used for pain relief in a wide range of cases, from toothache and menstrual cramps to arthritis, labor pain, chronic back or neck pain and even post-chemotherapy nausea. It can also be used to treat respiratory diseases and for weight loss.
Nowadays acupuncture is also often used to alleviate stress and promote general well being. As with other kinds of natural medicine, there are no side effects, so it can be tried with few risks. People with pacemakers, those who have bleeding problems or are taking blood thinners, and pregnant women should not undergo this treatment.
What to expect from the treatment
Each practitioner has a unique style and many combine both eastern and western principles. Before beginning the treatment, the practitioner will do an evaluation that can last for an hour. The patient will be asked a number of questions about their symptoms as well as their lifestyle. A physical examination may include examination of the painful areas of the body, the tongue, face color and the pulse.
The evaluation will help the practitioner to decide on the right course of treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners will use five to twenty needles in one session. Needle insertion typically causes very little discomfort. Treatments will last for about half an hour, and two may be done each week. For most condition, six to eight treatments are given.
Will it hurt?
Many people are afraid of having needles inserted into their skin, but the treatment typically is not painful. Most people don’t even feel the needles, or only experience a mild ache when the needle reaches the right point. Some practitioners may move the needles gently or apply heat or a mild electrical pulse to them during the treatment.
The needles are removed after ten to twenty minutes, leaving the patient either relaxed or energized.
Acupuncture is used as an alternative medical treatment for conditions like chronic pain and stress. It is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is gaining popularity around the world.