Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, and there are many benefits to receiving acupuncture treatments.
We find the origins of acupuncture in traditional Chinese medicine. While a popular treatment method for the Chinese, acupuncture did not become a prominent practice outside of China until around the 1900s. At that point, other countries began gradually adopting the technique.
Acupuncture has risen in popularity over the past 100 years in treating a multitude of health conditions. We should have an acupuncture treatment plan as a part of any chronic pain management and recovery plan.
What Is Acupuncture?
During an acupuncture session, an acupuncturist inserts needles into precise areas of the skin, called acupuncture points (otherwise known as acupoints). There are different acupuncture practices outside of Chinese acupuncture. These include:
- Japanese Acupuncture
- Laser Acupuncture. …
- Teishin Acupuncture. …
- Korean Acupuncture. …
- Auricular Acupuncture
While each type of innovation and oriental acupuncture is available domestically, traditional Chinese acupuncture is recommended in the United States, traditional Chinese Medicine is the most common form.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture needles consist of medical-grade stainless steel. The acupuncturist inserts them into the skin ranging from a few millimeters to three centimeters deep.
Acupuncture needles differ from medical needles that a Doctor uses to give you a shot. Regular doctor’s needles are hollow because they are putting something into your body or pulling something out.
Acupuncture needles don’t do these processes, so they are solid. Acupuncture needles are also immensely thin compared to medical needles. Therefore, many patients feel little to no discomfort.
Most patients express that an acupuncture needle causes little to no pain or discomfort.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
To understand how acupuncture works, you need to understand the concept of Qi. Acupuncture focuses on the theory of Qi, which you pronounce “chee”.
Qi is energy or a force flowing throughout your entire body. The most common English translations of the word are “vital energy” or “vital force.” Qi is a concept that frequently appears in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Qi travels through what TCM calls meridians. These are pathways that spread throughout your body, and the meridians connect to form an entire network. Think of it almost like a circulatory system of energy.
Qi likes to congregate in between muscles, bones, and tendons. These congregation areas are where your acupoints are. These areas are where your acupuncturist places the needles. The needles help balance your body’s energy, or qi, to get it back to normal.
It’s thought that endorphins, or feel-good hormones, are released during this process. This ultimately helps your body feel better and tries correcting itself from the inside out.
Depending on your specific issue, your licensed acupuncturist places needles at certain acupoints. The needles are typically in the skin for about twenty minutes. However, treatments can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
During this time, focus on your breathing and relax as much as possible. To complete treatment, you need to attend six to twelve sessions over about three months.
The Benefits of Acupuncture
There are many benefits of acupuncture and the practice treats or aids in treating many ailments, both mental and physical. Many people choose acupuncture to help relieve chronic pain, but it also helps with other conditions.
Health benefits vary depending on what condition you go into the acupuncture clinic for. The general idea of acupuncture for preventative health is to reduce stress, feel more relaxed, and increase energy. Results differ between each person.
However, it might take a few sessions to feel anything, so don’t feel discouraged if you are experiencing some pain
What Conditions Does Acupuncture Help With?
Although limited research is available for using acupuncture to treat conditions, there is a long list of ailments that it can help.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the proven conditions that acupuncture can treat include:
- Environmental or dietary allergies
- Arthritis and other joint conditions
- Chemotherapy reactions because of cancer treatment
- Biliary colic
- Bacterial infections of the gastrointestinal tract
- Menstrual cramps
- Gastrointestinal tract pain
- Tension Headaches and Migraines
- High and low blood pressure
- Labor induction
- Neck pain
- Knee Pain
- Mid and low back pain
- Autoimmune diseases that cause a low white blood cell count
- Fetal malposition
- Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting
- Dental and facial pain
- Pain associated with surgeries
- Renal colic, or kidney pain
- Mental health
There is an even longer list of conditions that an acupuncture treatment plan has the potential to help with, but we need more clinical research to validate these claims. For now, the benefits of acupuncture are effective by complimenting or when coming off of pain medication.
The Risks of Acupuncture
Since acupuncture uses thin needles, the risk of pain is low. However, this does not mean that side effects are entirely off the table. They are rare, but some potential side effects include:
- Bruising or minor bleeding where the needles were
- Needle shock symptoms, such as lightheadedness, chills, or nausea
Needle shock symptoms are usually uncommon. They mostly pertain to people who enter their acupuncture session with:
- A needle phobia
- Noticeable exhaustion
- Low blood sugar
There is also a list of people who should not get acupuncture due to predisposing risk factors. This list includes:
- Infants and young children
- The elderly
- People with bleeding disorders
- Severely weak people
- People with significantly low blood pressure
- Extremely anxious people
- People who are pregnant (case specific)
Overall, acupuncture is a safe practice that has limited risks. If your concern is about the safety of the needles, there is no need to fret. Acupuncturists adopted the use of sealed, single-use needles. Doing this eradicates the spread of blood-born illnesses and infections. Safety is always the number one priority.
Acupuncturists are trained and licensed Chinese medicine health professionals. They are not medical doctors, but that does not make them any less reliable in their practice.
They go through years of schooling and training to receive their acupuncturist licensing, so you can feel safe when attending acupuncture sessions. This license is a requirement before someone can conduct and open an acupuncture clinic.
Final Thoughts: Is Acupuncture Right for You?
If you’re going through any physical or mental conditions, acupuncture might be your path to relief. It’s a proven treatment method for multiple conditions and has the potential to treat a whole slew of other ailments.
There are many benefits of acupuncture, so it is always worth a try! Especially if your other options for relief, such as pain medicine, have not worked in the past.
There are no long-term problems that come along with acupuncture. The worst that can happen is that you dislike it, or it does not help you. Remember to go through a few sessions before deciding if it is not for you, as it does not always work right away.
Schedule Your Acupuncture Appointment
Ready to experience chronic pain relief and other acupuncture benefits? We can help. At Logan Osland Chiropractic, we offer acupuncture therapy in Oxnard, Ventura, and the surrounding communities. Contact our office to schedule your first acupuncture appointment.
We look forward to having you as a patient for years to come.