Acupuncture has become popular due to its effectiveness in treating chronic pain and other conditions. It is an ancient Chinese treatment approach that offers an alternative to conventional medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique that balances the flow of energy in the body. However, western practitioners view it as a treatment method that stimulates nerves, muscles, and tissue for pain relief and healing.
Read on to learn what it is, which conditions it treats, its safety, and its benefits.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment involves inserting needles into strategic points on the skin to treat various conditions. These needles stimulate the central nervous system, releasing chemicals into the brain, muscles, and spinal cord. This release of chemicals triggers the body's ability to heal naturally.
Acupuncturists use thin needles and place them at various depths without causing pain or discomfort. Most people report feeling mild pressure or tingling during treatment but not pain.
Acupuncture treatment involves several sessions, depending on the type and severity of a condition. Most patients attend sessions once a week, but this could be more or less depending on how long the treatment effects last.
For example, a person with a chronic condition may need to attend treatment twice a week for more than six months, while another with an acute condition may only need to attend one session every week over two or three months. It's crucial to go to all sessions for the best results.
Which Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?
Some of the most common conditions acupuncture treats include:
- Chronic pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disorders
- Menstrual issues
- Tennis elbow
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture treatment is safe as long as a certified acupuncturist does it. The FDA classifies acupuncture needles as medical devices and requires them to be sterile and labeled. The regulation helps prevent the transmission of infections, central nervous system injuries, and organ punctures resulting from using non-sterile needles.
Also, before treatment, an acupuncturist will ask questions about your health history and may conduct tests to ensure you qualify for the treatment. Knowing a person's health status before treatment is crucial because some conditions can prevent you from getting acupuncture.
The risk of developing adverse side effects after treatment is low. In rare cases, some people feel pain or soreness where the needles puncture.
Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment
The benefits of acupuncture over other treatment methods include the following.
- It is minimally invasive
- It rarely causes adverse side effects
- A person can complement it with other types of treatment
- It can address several health concerns at once