Acupuncture is a therapeutic method to reduce/relieve pain, encourage natural healing, and improve the function of affected body parts. “Anatomical Acupuncture” refers to the more modern approach taken by Western trained medical personnel. It is safe and effective, and relief is often obtained when other medical therapies have failed. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin/tissue at specific points in the body. No medication or substance is injected.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture stimulates the body to produce endorphins, the body’s own natural pain relieving chemicals. Endorphins help block pathways responsible for relaying pain from the body to the brain. This results in pain relief, general relaxation, restoration of the body’s internal regulating systems, and improved energy and biochemical balance. The body’s healing abilities are stimulated, reducing inflammation and promoting all-around well being.
Are there side effects or risks?
There are no absolute contraindications to acupuncture. However, pregnant women and hemophiliacs should be treated with caution. The most common side effects are mild bruising and temporary aggravation of symptoms. Syncope is occasionally experienced. It is strongly recommended that only sterile,disposable needles be used, in order to prevent any risk of infection. This would eliminate the possibility of transmitting the AIDS or hepatitis virus.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Individuals may experience differing sensations. Most will only feel minimal discomfort with needle insertion. Many feel no pain at all. Once in place, the needles should not cause any significant discomfort. Needles are made from stainless steel and are extremely fine. Two or three would fit into the barrel of a regular hollow needle.
How Many Treatment Sessions are Required?
Treatment varies with each individual and the condition being treated. The following are only guidelines.
- Acute injuries: one, or only a few sessions may be required.
- Chronic or long-standing condition: 1-2x/wk over several weeks, with reduced frequency of treatment as improvement occurs.
Sessions usually last between 15-30 minutes. Relief may be felt immediately, within a few hours, or after a few days. In some instances, a few sessions may be needed before improvement is noticed. 80-90% of patients respond well to acupuncture. It can be used as the only form of treatment, or successfully combined with other forms of medical treatment or physical therapy.