Acupuncture has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest medical treatments in the world. It takes a holistic approach to understanding normal body functions and treating medical conditions, without the potentially harmful side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
Today, acupuncture is perceived as an effective and increasingly popular form of health care that is being used to treat a variety of acute and chronic health conditions by people around the world.
When performed by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture is considered a safe and effective treatment that is helpful in a wide range of conditions, particularly for those involving pain.
Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can have health benefits for people suffering from ailments including sleep problems, headaches and migraines, musculoskeletal pain, digestive issues, and mood disorders. Ongoing scientific studies are discovering more potential applications for this versatile treatment.
Insomnia and sleep paralysis may be helped through acupuncture, along with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and phobias that impact an individuals ability to get restful sleep.
Acupuncture has been shown to alleviate chronic pain such as back, neck, knee, and other musculoskeletal pain. It has also been shown to reduce surgical post-operative pain. Acupuncture is particularly useful for the treatment of chronic pain that can be difficult to target with conventional drugs.
Acupuncture may be used to treat nausea, indigestion, ulcers, colitis, constipation, and other issues affecting digestion or the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, pregnant women have reported acupuncture to be an excellent drug-free treatment for treating common digestive issues.
Headaches and migraines
One of the most well-established applications of acupuncture is the treatment of headaches and migraines. Acupuncture may be used for immediate relief from headache symptoms, as well as proactively to reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence.
How acupuncture is performed
You will take a seated or lying position when your acupuncture treatment begins, depending on the location of the area to be treated. Acupuncture needles are pre-sterilized, disposable and very fine, so you should not feel pain when they are inserted. A tingling sensation or a feeling of warmth or heaviness around the treatment site is normal. The acupuncturist will insert the needles in a specific pattern according to the nature of your symptoms and the treatment required. Typically the needles remain inserted between five and 30 minutes.
Many people experience deep relaxation both during and after acupuncture treatment, however specific reactions may be particular to each patient. Some people feel more energized following treatment, while others may feel sleepy. Within a few sessions, your symptoms should begin to improve, with some patients reporting improvements after even a single session.
The ultimate goal of acupuncture is to restore your body to its natural operating conditions. Once your body has recovered, you will not require further sessions.
Acupuncture can be a powerful alternative to conventional treatments, helping your body to heal itself. It has helped millions of people around the world, and further research is discovering new ways to apply this safe and versatile technique.
This article on the benefits of acupuncture was written by Rex Vincent, a research scientist and writer who has been published in professional and academic journals.