A kind of alternative treatment called acupuncture uses extremely tiny needles to treat patients. To address various health concerns, practitioners place needles at various angles and depths.
A number of different ailments can be treated with acupuncture, including pain relief. The precise mechanism by which it operates is yet unknown. While some individuals think it balances vital energy, others think it has a neurological impact.
In this article, we describe what acupuncture is, how it could function, and the advantages and hazards of the treatment.
What is Acupuncture?
In order to activate sensory nerves in the skin and muscles, acupuncture entails putting needles into the body. This could aid in the treatment of physical ailments and chronic pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has its origins in acupuncture treatments, which is today a widely used supplemental therapy globally.
How does it function?
The life energy known as Qi, pronounced “chi,” is said to have a harmonic balance between the complementary extremes of yin and yang. Advocates contend that an imbalance of these factors leads to sickness.
TCM holds that the body’s meridians, or energy lines, are where Qi moves. There are 361 acupuncture points on the body that can be used to access these meridians and energy flows. It is possible to restore the equilibrium of the energy flow by inserting needles into these locations in the right combinations.
Several acupuncture points can be in locations where stimulation may influence the activity of numerous sensory neurons, according to a 2017 study. These areas are also known as receptive fields.
The physical stimulation of inserting needles at certain places can alter how the central nervous system and muscles perceive pain while also increasing blood flow to specific regions of the body.
According to a 2018 meta-analysis of acupuncture’s impact on chronic pain, the acupuncture treatments can provide pain reduction effects that can be distinguished from placebo. However, it is unclear how acupuncture really works.
Every treatment has both dangers and advantages. Before beginning any treatment, a person should always see a doctor.
Acupuncture may have the following risks:
- At the insertion sites, bleeding, bruising, and pain might happen.
- By using unsterilized needles, you risk becoming sick.
- A needle may sometimes break and harm an internal organ.
Acupuncture needles are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices. Their production and labelling must adhere to specified requirements. Needles ticks need to be sterile, non-toxic, and “for one use only” labelled by a qualified professional.
As with any alternative therapy, acupuncture treatments should be used in conjunction with traditional therapies when a problem is persistent or severe.
A popular alternative treatment that can help patients manage a wide range of ailments is acupuncture.
Acupuncture treatments have the following advantages:
- Acupuncture and other therapies may be used together successfully by patients.
- Acupuncture that works may help treat headaches, migraines, and chronic pain.
- The danger of adverse effects with acupuncture is minimal.
- It is a versatile method of therapy that may address many health issues concurrently.
Acupuncture treatments should not be used in lieu of traditional medical care, according to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
According to the NCCIH, acupuncture may be used to treat the following conditions:
- A low back ache
- A stiff neck
- Ankle ache
According to several researches, acupuncture may also help with the following conditions:
- Radicular neuropathy
- Arthritis rheumatoid
How to prepare
An acupuncturist will look over the patient, evaluate their condition, place one or more tiny, sterile needles, and provide recommendations.
Usually, people would sit or lay down while having the treatment. Single-use, disposable, sterilised needles should be used by the acupuncturist. Upon needle insertion, some people may experience a very short stinging or tingling sensation.
They can then feel a mild discomfort at the needle’s base.
The needles will often remain in place for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the operation.
After insertion, the acupuncturist may in certain procedures warm the needles.
It depends on the unique circumstance whether a person needs many treatments. For many months, a person with a chronic disease can need one or two treatments each week. After 8–12 sessions, an acute health condition normally gets better.
Factors to think about
Since it is a complimentary therapy, acupuncture shouldn’t replace other medically prescribed procedures.
An individual should see a primary care physician before getting acupuncture to alleviate chronic pain or other disorders. Acupuncturists are permitted to practise as primary care doctors in various American jurisdictions.
Traditional supplementary treatment with roots in ancient China is acupuncture. Small needles are inserted in order to activate certain areas of the body’s neural network.
Acupuncture treatments have been shown in studies to be effective in treating OA, headaches, migraines, and chronic pain.
A licence is required for practitioners to conduct acupuncture operations, and the danger of adverse effects is low.