Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine centered on the belief that people have chi, or energy, flowing through their body in channels called meridians. Those who practice acupuncture feel that a person's illness can be attributed to a block or unbalance in their chi. Acupuncture treatment is designed to help restore balance to the patient's chi.
What are the Benefits of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is useful for pain relief, as well as in the treatment of health conditions, including fibromyalgia, lower back pain, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, and myo-fascial pain. Acupuncture is also used in treating dental pain, labor pain, headaches, menstrual cramps and tennis elbow. In addition, acupuncture can be useful in stroke rehabilitation and in helping patients overcome drug addictions. Studies have also found optimistic evidence that acupuncture alleviates nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, pregnancy, and post surgery pain.
What is an Acupuncture Treatment Session Like?
During a treatment session, the acupuncturist inserts thin needles into a patient's skin at specific points on their body. Sometimes heat, electrical current and pressure is used along with the needles. The practitioner may also roll the needle back and forth a little after insertion. Most acupuncture treatment sessions last between 15 to 60 minutes. A patient may require multiple sessions to receive full treatment, and some patients may benefit from regular visits. Patients may encounter slight pressure when the needle is inserted, but most find that the process is not painful.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Some practitioners believe that acupuncture works because the specific points that the acupuncturist focuses on are those points in a person's muscles, nerves and connective tissue that can be stimulated. Acupuncturists point out that the treatment works by activating a person's built-in painkillers while also improving the patient's blood flow.