Acupuncture is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin needles through the skin.
It is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture, thus is believed to correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.
One of the advantages of acupuncture for pain management is that acupuncturists don’t need to diagnose the cause of the pain in order to start treating it, but to know where it is, and how intense, the pain is.
While acupuncture is often effective at reducing pain, it also improves a person’s quality of life. Acupuncture generally reduces stress, benefits sleep, lifts and stabilizes moods, and improves energy. All of these effects might be helpful to someone who is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to managing chronic pain.
How does Acupuncture work?
An Acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into the skin at specific points around the body. It is virtually painless when done by an experienced practitioner.
Inserting the needles is thought to correct imbalances in the flow of energy in the body, called qi (pronounced “chee”). Acupuncture is a therapy to ease pain by affecting neurotransmitters, hormone levels, or the immune system of the body.
It is best recommended for chronic pain. For new pain, an acupuncturist should not always be the first stop. It is important for the patient to have clear diagnosis of what is causing the pain to rule out serious medical conditions that should be treated right away, and then seek out acupuncture if appropriate.
What is Acupuncture indicated for? Is it safe?
It is recommended for various pathologies like back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, and headache. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke, rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma where acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. Improperly performed acupuncture can cause serious side effects.
How often is the therapy needed?
The therapy is very subjective. It is based on the intensity and chronicity of pain. You can plan on weekly treatments until you start to see a benefit, then gradually lengthen the time until the next visit. Talk to your acupuncturist for a customized treatment plan.