Acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular as people search out alternative healthcare treatments in an overmedicated world. More and more individuals are finding that stimulating nerves and muscles with the very thin acupuncture needles can increase blood flow to desired areas and help alleviate pain.
The origin of acupuncture
Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine used to treat pain, nausea and other ailments. Thin needles are strategically placed around the body in an effort to balance the patient’s life force called the chi. In western medicine, stimulating muscles, nerves and connective tissue with the needles seems to have several benefits on the body.
Specific uses for acupuncture
Acupuncture is primarily used for pain management. According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the ailments that acupuncture can treat are:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Dental Pain
- Headaches and Migraines
- Labor pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Tennis Elbow
What to expect during an acupuncture treatment
The acupuncture needles are so thin that they usually cause little to no discomfort. Usually a typical treatment uses anywhere from five to twenty needles. The practitioner will leave the needles in place for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still. They may manipulate the needles by gently moving them or applying heat or electrical pulses.
After the needles have been removed, some people feel energized and some feel relaxed. Like other forms of alternative medicine, acupuncture does not always work for everyone. However, it does seem to work better in people who believe it will help.
Choosing a practitioner
Before choosing an acupuncture practitioner you may want to discuss acupuncture with your doctor. They may be able to recommend a practitioner for you. Also consider asking people you trust if they have had an acupuncture treatment and what they thought of their practitioner. It is also recommended that you check with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine if you are planning on going with a nonphysician acupuncturist. As always, be sure to check with your insurance as well to see if the expenses are covered and if there are any in network practitioners.
As long as you find a good practitioner, acupuncture has very few side effects. Be sure to let your acupuncturist know if you have any bleeding disorders, a pacemaker, or are pregnant.