Acupuncture is part of the ancient practice of Traditional Chinese medicine, whereby a qualified practitioner will use thin needles to penetrate the skin at various points on the body. TCM practitioners believe that the human body has more than 2,000 acupuncture points connected by meridians.
They believe that these pathways carry an energy flow called Qi which is responsible for our overall health, and that disruption of the energy flow can lead to various conditions and diseases. Applying acupuncture needles to certain points will improve the flow of Qi. It is unlikely to hurt and may improve our health over time.
What does acupuncture feel like?
Many patients report minimal discomfort as the acupuncture needle is inserted. The sensation that you are likely to feel is more like a pressure or ache. Needles can sometimes be heated, or the practitioner may use a mild electric current. Some people report that they feel energised, while others say that they become more relaxed after the treatment.
However, improper placement of needles may cause pain during treatment and it is important for practitioners to use only sterilised needles to avoid infection. That is why it is essential to only deal with a qualified acupuncture practitioner.
How does acupuncture affect the body?
Acupoints or meridians are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. Many believe that acupuncture encourages the body to release chemicals into the spinal cord, muscles, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities and promote emotional and physical well-being.
Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that you may benefit from acupuncture if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms or conditions:
- Dental pain after surgery
- Menstrual cramps
- Tennis elbow
- Myofascial pain
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stroke recovery
Considerations when choosing acupuncture
If you are planning to undergo acupuncture treatments, it is advisable to discuss it with your doctor and gain an understanding of how it may fit with your current treatments, dietary supplements, prescription, and over-the-counter medications. It is also important to thoroughly discuss all conditions and symptoms, as well as medications, with your chosen acupuncture practitioner.
Overall, acupuncture may offer several benefits to your general health and wellbeing, while also alleviating the symptoms of your injury or condition.