What you do NOT know about Acupuncture can hurt you!
People almost always ask if Acupuncture hurts.. The answer is NO it does not!
But what can hurt you is not being aware of this amazing curative practice that has been around for centuries… not years… Centuries!
Why should you try it?
- It is holistic and actually activates the body to heal itself
- It can do no harm. …And it will most likely help
- It is amazingly relaxing and restorative
- It addresses the body as a whole not just the symptom
- Western medicine treats or in fact masks the symptom… Eastern practice of acupuncture addresses the source of why you have a symptom.
- It is natural and non-invasive
- The probability of any side –effects is nil. Which, if you read the side of any pill bottle, is just the opposite of pills
- It can address chronic problems for which there is no Western medicine natural cure like asthma, anxiety and chronic pain; for example.
- Because you are worth it!
- Puts your whole body in balance thus addressing issues you have yet to even noticed before they become symptomatic.
What is it?
The purpose of acupuncture is whole body balance! Symptoms indicate an imbalance in Qi (pronounced “Chi”). When Qi is in balance you are in perfect health.
There are highways in the body to carry Qi. Some of these are on the surface of the skin and others run deep into the body and to internal organs. In fact there are 361 acupuncture points and about 10-15 are stimulated in each treatment. These are the same as they were 2500 years ago!
There is a study available in the Archives of Internal Medicine
Concluding that acupuncture is a very viable treatment for chronic pain. This was part of a study conducted by the NIH. (National Institute of Health).
The really great news is that because there are no side effects; acupuncture can be done in tandem with ant treatment you are having as a complement. No worry of any adverse reaction.
What does acupuncture treat?
As stated previously, acupuncture treats the entire body not just the symptom.
It has been demonstrated to be a very good source of treatment for chronic pain.
Many of us in the United States who were aware in the ‘70’s learned about acupuncture because President Richard Nixon went to China and while he was there had his phlebitis successfully treated with acupuncture.
Here is an alphabetical list of the conditions often treated bye acupuncture:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Back Pain
- Digestion Disorders
- Headaches and Migraines
- Heartburn and Nausea
- High Blood Pressure
- Menstrual Disorders
- Morning Sickness
- Pain- acute or chronic
- Skin Problems
- Stress Management
A study published in the Fetal Diagnoses and Therapy (Nov-Dec 2003) determined that 76.4% of women treated with acupuncture for a baby in breach were more likely to have a baby in proper delivery position than those without acupuncture treatment.
A 2014 study conducted at the Perelman School of Medicine at U of Penn offer hope for breast cancer survivors to manage cancer-related pain and swelling.
There are also studies that say it has little to no affect. In the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, Professor David Colquhoun in London and Dr. Steven Novella of Yale University pose that acupuncture, in their words, “is little or no more than a theatrical placebo.”
Just getting medical attention helps…from a drug that cost millions to design to a sugar pill…symptoms are relieved because the patient received attention for a perceived expert.
So you must be the judge! No one says it will do harm and many medicines when compared to placebos fair only as equally well. The best approach is a balance one. Balance both western and eastern medicine in managing your health.
What about those needles?
The needles are just part of the treatment. Many times you will get a lengthier and thorough check of your vitals at the Acupuncturist than you will get with the 5 minutes snatched with your General Practice doctor.
The acupuncturist checks your tongue’s condition as parts of the tongue are linked to different organs, they inspect your face and body, listen for wheezing and even sniff for peculiar odors. They will also check the pulse for flow of Qi, clues on the heart and the state of vital organs.
All before a single needle is introduced.
The FDA now regulates acupuncture needles, just as it does other devices such as surgical scalpels and hypodermic syringes, under good manufacturing practices and single-use standards of sterility.
The needles are very, very thin …not much thicker than a hair…and as a result most people feel nothing or almost nothing when the needle is administered. On the contrary many people feel energized or relaxed.
The depth of the needle depends on the location on your body. A needle in your hand will be very shallow but in a more fleshy area like stomach it can go deeper. The type A personality usually needs a more penetrative approach for a noticeable affect on the body. The condition can also dictate the depth. The average depth is ¼ to ½ inch and because they are so thin it is not felt or felt very slightly.
The needles should not be reused, in this writer’s opinion. I want to see my acupuncturist opening a fresh new packet of needles. Most practitioners use single use needles made from stainless steel, which are disposed of immediately after my session.
Pain is a very relative feeling….with the right practitioner the “pain” or sensation should be non existent or minimal.
The location of the insertion is first swabbed with a disinfectant like alcohol. The number of needles inserted on each visit is on average 15 and they stay inserted while you relax to soothing music for an average of 20 minutes. Sometimes the needles may be swirled or electrically stimulated by the acupuncturist. Most people with have acupuncture 1 per week for about 3 months. The actual time is a decision between you and your acupuncturist.
How to find an Acupuncturist in your location?
Referrals are the best either from your doctor or a friend your trust. You can either go to a medical doctor trained in acupuncture or a certified acupuncturist with his or her own practice. Doctor’s are required 300 hours training in addition to their medical training. Certified Acupuncturists usually have on average 2500 hours of training.
Is it covered by insurance?
Insurance companies often still think of acupuncture as experimental. A 2500-year-old experiment!!! They are beginning to move towards more of the holistic medicines.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has a great article on “paying for acupuncture”. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/financial
More than 3.1 million Americans get acupuncture treatment annually; so it is getting more and more attention from insurers.
Acupuncture is an old and enduring practice that has stood the test of time. Is it right for you? You are the only person who can determine that. The facts are in this article but the feeling od comfort is in you. It can help and it will probably do no harm. It is a great balance of eastern and western medicine. And as will all medicine, getting the attention of a knowledgeable practitioner is always comforting!