Acupuncture is a treatment that traces its origin from ancient Chinese medicine. Through the technique, practitioners stimulate targeted points of the patient body, by inserting thin needles through the skin, mainly for either preventive or therapeutic purposes. Various studies have been conducted on acupuncture, especially for neck and back pain, headache and osteoarthritis. It is critical to note that researchers are only beginning to draw their conclusions whether or not acupuncture can be effective in various conditions of health.
How It Works.
Traditional acupuncture works based on the belief that a ‘life force’ or energy flows through the body in channels known as meridians. In the Chinese language, this particular life force is known as Qi, pronounced as ‘chee.’
Traditional practitioners who strictly adhere to ancient beliefs concerning acupuncture trust that when Qi does not freely flow through the body, illness can result. Additionally, they believe that acupuncture can successfully restore the flow of Qi, hence leading to extensive health restoration.
However, modern medical acupuncture involves the use of acupuncture only after a medical diagnosis. It largely includes the stimulation of sensory nerves in the muscles of the body and under the skin. The practice results in the body releasing natural substances such as pain-relieving hormones, especially endorphins. It is probably these naturally released hormones that are practically responsible for the beneficial effects of acupuncture.
According to research conducted by California State University, a course of acupuncture often results to longer lasting pain relief as compared to when only a single acupuncture is used.
The initial acupuncture session lasts for twenty to forty minutes and involves the assessment of the general health of yours, your medical history, a physical examination, and after that, the insertion of the acupuncture needles follows. The treatment courses mostly involve up to ten separate sessions but do vary on most occasions.
The practitioner inserts the needles into the specific points of the body, which are referred to as acupuncture points.
During the session, patients are asked to lie or sit down. And of course, the patient will have to remove his/her clothes for the professional to access the targeted points of the body.
The needles are often fine and a few centimeters in length. They are single-use, are pre-sterilized, and are always disposed of immediately after the procedure. The needles are then placed on specific points based on the condition of the patient. Up to twelve points might be used in a single typical session, and sometimes more, and this depends on some symptoms you may have.
The specialist inserts the needles under your skin, so that they may reach the tissue muscles. Once they are inserted, they are left in position for some time, often a few minutes up to around thirty minutes. You may experience a dull or a tingling ache during the insertion of the needles, but you should never feel any significant pain. When you do, kindly inform your practitioner straight away.
In certain conditions, the practitioner may stimulate the needles with a mild electric current, known as electro-acupuncture.
What Science says about the acupuncture effectiveness.
It is worth noting that numerous studies have proved that acupuncture can help ease types of pain that are chronic including neck pain, low—back pain and knee pain. It also helps decrease the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. Based on these facts, therefore, acupuncture is a reasonable option for individuals having chronic pain to opt for.
About the safety and side effects of acupuncture.
Currently, as it stands, relatively few complications from the use of acupuncture have been identified. However, it is important t to note that these difficulties have mainly resulted from the utilization of non-sterile needles and incorrect delivery of treatments. When not conducted properly it can lead to serious adverse effects ranging from collapsed lungs, infections, damaged organs and even injury to your central nervous system.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA regulates the needles as medical tools for use by licensed specialists. It also requires that the needles be manufactured and labeled according to the given standards. For example, it requires that these needles must be non-toxic, sterile and labeled for single use by practitioners who are qualified only.
The Bottom line.
Acupuncture is a safe practice that can help ease some mild health conditions, especially for neck and back pain, headache and osteoarthritis. However, it should be performed by a qualified and an experienced practitioner.
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