What is acupuncture and how can it help you? Is it safe? What are the acupuncture benefits in terms of health and well-being? We will try to answer these questions so, hopefully, you can try acupuncture out yourself.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the body at acupuncture points. Some techniques even involve the application of heat, pressure, or laser lights too. Its aim is to relieve pain as well as improve sleep, digestive function, and well-being. Chinese medicine practitioners consider acupuncture as an effective alternative medicine technique.
Some Basic Principles
The theory of acupuncture is based on the presence of energy pattern flows called “Qi”, as well as principles of yin and yang. This energy is believed to flow through the body and is essential for maintaining health. On the other hand, disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for diseases. Acupuncture therapy releases blocked Qi in the body, thereby stimulating it to function normally again. At the same time, various physiological processes will evoke the body’s natural healing response too.
Is it effective?
So, is it an effective way of relieving pain based on evidence? Researchers have already published numerous studies saying that acupuncture for chronic low back pain is definitely effective. Right now, however, there are only claims in terms of its other benefits like improved sleep and appetite. Most people who have already undergone acupuncture do report an increase in well being though.
Your acupuncturist will first ask about your health history then he or she will examine you. He or she starts the session by having you lie down comfortably on a treatment table and stimulate precise acupoints on various areas of your body. Most people feel no or minimal discomfort as the fine needles are gently placed. The acupuncturist retains the needles between five and 30 minutes.
Safety and Side Effects
Acupuncture is generally safe when done by an appropriately trained practitioner using clean needle technique and single-use needles. The most common serious injury reported from the needles of acupuncture has been accidental puncture of the lung. On the other hand, the most common infection reported from acupuncture treatments is viral hepatitis. Other side effects include bacterial infections locally at the site of needle insertion in the skin. Generally, side effects seem to relate to poor hygiene and training of the acupuncturist.