In the world of Western medicine, acupuncture may raise a few eyebrows from time to time. For every person who swears by acupuncture as an effective treatment, there is another person who doesn’t know much about acupuncture but is curious to learn. If you fall into the latter category, here are all of your questions finally answered.
What is the Purpose of Acupuncture?
Invented 3,000 years ago in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture was documented in America in 1997 as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of conditions. It’s even now covered by many insurances! The main purpose of acupuncture is to relieve pain and improve sleep, digestion, and emotional well-being.
What Can Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture has undergone hundreds of clinical trials to scientifically determine its benefits, and every study has established that is successfully treats conditions ranging from migraine headaches and anxiety to musculoskeletal problems (back pain, neck pain) to even insomnia and infertility. The full list is extensive but also includes allergies, hypertension, knee pain, morning sickness, and even stroke!
How does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture stimulates specific anatomical sites referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. At each acupoint, a fine, sterile needle is inserted into the skin, possibly combined with pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation. By targeting these specific acupoints, the acupuncture process promotes natural self-healing and improves the body’s functions. This entire therapy is founded on the belief that the needles in the acupoints release the body’s qi (pronounced “chee”) energy to bring the body back into balance and thus health. Bodies before acupuncture are often unbalanced, with the qi energy blocked like water behind a dam. As the acupuncture releases qi energy, the body’s natural healing responses are stimulated to improve the nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system.
What is Acupuncture Treatment Like?
First, you need to help your acupuncturist understand your health history and current problems. You’ll lie on a comfortable table while very specific acupoints are stimulated throughout the body. Most people don’t feel any discomfort at all, and the needles remain in place up to 30 minutes. While some people experience immediate relief after their first acupuncture treatment, others need two treatments per week for several months to solve their problems.