Acupuncture involves having very thin needles inserted into your skin at very specific points on your body. This practice comes from traditional Chinese medicine. The main use of acupuncture is to treat pain, but it is becoming more common for other uses like wellness. Studies have shown acupuncture is effective for a variety of conditions.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that the human body has over 2,000 acupuncture points connected by pathways. These pathways create an energy flow called Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) through the body that is responsible for overall health. It is believed that a disruption to the energy flow can cause disease, so using acupuncture on certain spots improves the flow of Qi and benefits your health.
One of the main reasons people are hesitant to try acupuncture is because of their fear of needles. While I wouldn’t recommend trying this if you have a severe fear of needles, the pain from the needles is not very bad. Most people report feeling very minimal pain as the needle is inserted. You might feel a slight aching sensation when the needle reaches the right depth.
You should only feel pain during the session if the needles are placed wrong. There are other stimulation forms used instead of acupuncture sometimes, such as cupping, acupressure or friction. An acupuncture session can last up to an hour, though it’s dependent on the issue being tackled. The same goes for the number of sessions needed to treat the problem.
Some of the issues that acupuncture is used to treat are headaches, osteoarthritis, lower back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia and menstrual cramps. The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it helpful as a way to control some painful conditions. Ultimately it seems like some types of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture. There’s also evidence that acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.
However, acupuncture is not for everyone. Discuss acupuncture with your doctor first. Based on conditions you have or medication you take it, it may not be compatible with you. Your doctor should be able to tell you if acupuncture is beneficial for your condition. It is also important to research the acupuncture practitioner to ensure they are qualified and have good reviews to make the experience as good as possible for you.