Acupuncture is a popular and safe alternative therapy. Many practitioners and physicians believe that acupuncture can provide several benefits, especially in alleviating pain. In certain situations, it may help when used in combination with conventional painkillers.
In fact, a study done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 1998 demonstrated the pain-relieving qualities of acupuncture, with a focus on adults experiencing post-operative dental pain. The NIH also released a statement stating that acupuncture might be useful as a treatment for lower back pain, myofascial pain, headaches, osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, any treatment option is not without its risks. It is important to be aware of the factors involved in acupuncture before trying it as a treatment option.
Things to do before first before choosing acupuncture:
- Consider costs and benefits
Ask your practitioner about the experience they have had with your condition and discuss your expectations, particularly your desired levels of pain relief. If your local acupuncturist has little experience with your condition, or your expectations are different, it may be best to look for somebody else.
You may also want to know the costs of acupuncture treatment or if your private health insurance will cover it. Usually, a practitioner will require you to follow a program that will take several sessions to complete.
- Get a referral from your health care practitioner
Many doctors recommend acupuncture and believe that it may benefit their patients. Some health care professionals refer their patients to a licensed and qualified acupuncturist upon request, although it is not required.
Ask your doctor for their opinion about how acupuncture may assist with your pain and other symptoms. They may be able to recommend an acupuncturist who can help.
- Research the background and qualification of your practitioner
When searching for any health care practitioner, it is essential to research their background, qualification and specialties. The same steps are necessary when searching for an acupuncturist. You may even get recommendations from friends and family. In Australia, a fully qualified Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist must have a Bachelor of Health Science in Chinese Medicine.
Another thing to look out for is a practitioner who is an accredited member of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA). Lastly, they must be registered with the Australian Health Provider Regulation Agency (AHPRA). If the acupuncturist has these qualifications and accreditations, then you are assured that he or she will provide you with the highest and safest levels of service, and you will receive the best possible results.