Acupuncture is an alternative method of medicine from China which aims to refurbish and maintain health by stimulation of specific points on the body. There are several such acupuncture points on the body, and are positioned along the human body's 14 major meridians or energy channels. According to acupuncture theory, an illness is caused by the disruption of Qi (pronounced chi), the flow of energy along the meridians. Stimulation of these points can correct the imbalance of energy while restoring the body's ability to heal or resist illness. It also helps produce chemicals that reduce the feeling of pain.
Acupuncture requires sharp needles to be superficially placed on the skin at specific points to influence the energy flow. Heat, pressure or mild electrical currents are also used.
What happens during acupuncture?
The acupuncturist starts by understanding how your body functions and your overall health. They investigate your pain or any other discomfort that you may be experiencing. They will then locate the acupuncture points, using landmarks such as specific bones or muscles, to access the qi that may be blocked or not flowing right.
Once the points have been located and marked, the needles are placed. The needle is rolled and moved to gain access to the qi. In certain stubborn areas the acupuncturist may need to apply heat or a weak current to stimulate the energy flow. Every acupuncturist is different; styles and techniques may vary.
What does it feel like?
The needles mostly do not hurt when inserted, but one may feel a pressure on the skin. It is believed this is the sign that the energy flow or chi has been accessed.
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat pain and specific health conditions. It is shown that acupuncture is very effective in chemotherapy, nausea and post operative pain.
Acupuncture also may be useful for:
- Stroke rehabilitation.
- Tennis elbow.
- Fibromyalgia, or widespread pain and tenderness of muscle and soft tissue.
- Myofascial pain, caused by spasm in the muscles.
- Osteoarthritis or the breakdown of the tissue (cartilage) that protects and cushions joints.
- Lower back pain.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome or pressure on a nerve in the wrist that results in tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in the hand and fingers.
- Asthma or inflammation in the tubes that carry air to the lungs, resulting in periodic episodes of breathing difficulty, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.
- Drug addiction.
- Dental pain.
- Labor pain.
Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe form of medicine, when taken under a certified acupuncturist. Certified acupuncturists use a new set of sterilized needles for every individual minimizing the risk of infection.