Acupuncture— Pain Relief Guide For Beginners
Experiencing pain or discomfort for long periods of time may lead you to seek unconventional treatment if the standard western medicine is not giving you relief. Doctors may have prescribed medication to treat your pain, but it doesn’t fix the cause. Ingestion of prescription pain medicine does not have a positive effect on your overall health and wellbeing. Acupuncture is an ancient health practice that stands the test of time.
History of Acupuncture
For roughly 3,500 years, Eastern Medicine has been practicing acupuncture. Originating in China, acupuncture uses over 2,000 acupuncture points connected by 20 pathways called meridians that the qi (read chi), or the patient’s energy, travels around the body.
The Chinese believe that the qi must be balanced within the body, as with all energy— like the ying and the yang. Any ailment is a symptom of the unbalanced qi within the body.
Western Explanation of Acupuncture
Western minds have searched for years to find an explanation for the success that acupuncture has in relieving the pain associated with some ailments. What is the science behind it? While nothing has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, some studies have shown it could be acupuncture points are also significant points along the nervous system.
In fact, acupuncture is most effective for ailments related to the nervous system. Acupuncture is a very popular method of pain relief, and some schools of thought believe acupuncture stimulates endorphins that relieve pain naturally.
Most Importantly, Does it Hurt?
Acupuncture needles are not the same kind of needles used to draw blood, insert an IV, pierce your ears, or even tattoo your skin. These needles are solid, not hollow, and they are hair thin. Administered correctly, they are inserted no more than ½ inch to 1 inch into the skin. Patients report mostly a sense of excitement or relaxation. Any pain experienced is a warning sign that something is wrong.
There are patients who are not candidates for acupuncture. Hemophiliacs or anyone who bleeds easily should seek another treatment. Some acupuncturists also practice electroacupuncture; patients with a pacemaker on their heart should not seek this kind of treatment. It is important to be honest with your acupuncturist about your current medical conditions as well as your medical history.
The Acupuncture Appointment
Your first appointment will likely last an hour or so due to the consultation portion of the session. The acupuncturist will ask you detailed questions about your medical history and why you have come to seek acupuncture. They will take steps to determine the cause of your ailment.
After the questions, you will lay on a table while your practitioner examines your tongue (an important part of diagnosis in acupuncture), takes your pulse, and then begins to identify the exact acupoints to be stimulated. The acupuncturist will then insert the needles to be left in from 5-30 minutes depending on the treatment plan.
Chronic ailments might require 1-2 appointments per week for up to three months to regulate. More acute ailments may only need 10 or fewer appointments to cure. There is an extensive list of ailments acupuncture can treat, as well as many ailments acupuncture is a useful addition to the treatment plan. The things acupuncture can be used for includes, but is certainly not limited to, the following:
- neck/shoulder pain
- Chronic diarrhea
Yes! You should absolutely ensure you see a licensed and credible acupuncture practitioner. There are very few serious side effects of acupuncture, but it would be unwise to see a practitioner not licensed by your state, as it could lead to serious complications. All needles should always be sterilized, and you should not feel pain. If you do, it is a sure sign the practitioner is not administering the acupuncture correctly.
If you think acupuncture might be for you, call our team at Hoboken Integrated Healthcare, to talk about what benefit it might be in your overall health and wellness.