How Does A Primer on Medical Acupuncture Works - Get information about medical acupuncture's benefits & side effects, history, origin. it represented the earliest European introduction to acupuncture
How Does A Primer on Medical Acupuncture Works
Have you ever had an uncontrollable urge to be pierced by a dozen needles? This is the image most people get when someone mentions the word “acupuncture”. It comes as no surprise that most view this technique with suspicion, even downright horror. The fact is, however, that this relatively painless ancient Chinese technique has helped relieve the symptoms of millions of people. Properly used, it can help in the management of many medical conditions including chronic pain and fatigue.
How Does Needle Puncture Work?
Practitioners of Chinese traditional medicine believe in energy flows. This energy, called Qi, circulates around the body using pathways called meridians. Meridians run very close to the surface of the skin in certain areas and can be accessed by needles. Much like plumbing, these pipes can get blocked or go the wrong way, causing health problems. The insertion of needles at these points is aimed to help loosen blocks and normalize flow.
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It sounds like a made-up explanation with no basis in reality, but there are numerous scientific studies which support the effects of acupuncture. Although the exact scientific basis is still unknown, recent theories seem to suggest involvement of complicated neurochemical effects in the brain, nerve to spinal cord impulse modulation, and microscopic connective tissue changes.
What Risks And Side Effects Are Of Concern?
The use of things not completely understood for the treatment of medical conditions is nothing new. Penicillin and aspirin were used for decades solely on the basis of their beneficial effects, without doctors knowing exactly how they worked. Results are what are truly important. However, it is equally important is to ensure that the technique is used safely.
Like other strategies used in treating health conditions, acupuncture may have some side effects. Medications have side effects and allergic reactions, surgeries have risk of infection and complications. For needle puncture, there is a risk of injury, rare infections, minor bleeding, small bruises, and some dizziness.
You can minimize the possible side effects by choosing a licensed acupuncturist. Most countries either have government licensing in place or have professional organizations with very strict rules and regulations.
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How Do Treatments Go?
An acupuncturist will do an initial evaluation of your medical history and your body’s current state. Multiple pressure points are palpated, and a regimen of treatment is formulated. Most courses involve a series of 10 to 20 treatment sessions, each lasting 30 to 90 minutes. Needles will be carefully placed at the required points and kept in place for some time. Most patients report a feeling of mild sensation at the site of the puncture, but no real pain.
Right after each acupuncture session, you will feel a bit tired and may need to rest. Some people feel an increase in their energy levels. The response to acupuncture is very individual. In some cases there is immediate relief of symptoms. For some patients, the beneficial effects may only be noticed after undergoing a few sessions. Do not be alarmed and keep your acupuncturist updated on what you are feeling to ensure everything is going as expected.
You need never fear the thought of needles ever again. Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment with a long history of effectiveness. It is used to complement current medical therapy and should not replace currently existing medications or treatments.
The safe application of this once exclusively Chinese therapy can now be experienced by chronic disease sufferers worldwide.
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A Quick-Start Guide to Acupuncture
Using needles to adjust bodily functions to optimum levels is the principle behind acupuncture. Both ancient Chinese and modern Western practitioners have used this technique to relieve many sufferers of chronic disease. Needling is a relatively safe, beneficial treatment strategy that can be used to reduce pain, improve healing, and increase general well-being. But exactly how is this procedure done and what sort of benefits can be obtained?
Procedure For Needle Puncture
There are two broad categories of acupuncture practice today, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and medical acupuncture. Both have their merits, so the choice is individual. The decision for most people hinges upon which philosophy appeals more to them and which technique holds the least apprehension.
In TCM, practitioners adhere to the concept of Qi, or energy flow, and the meridians in which they travel. They use longer needles and insert them deeper in order to reach the acupuncture points. Modern science has found little evidence to prove the existence of these energy channels, but this is the technique that has been used effectively for thousands of years.
In medical acupuncture, the practitioners are graduates of western medical schools. Their application of needles is not based on the traditional acupuncture points, but on anatomic data. These acupuncturists use shorter needles and the insertions are shallower. They also tend to use fewer needles and leave them inserted for shorter periods of time. Adherents to TCM feel this is a watered-down version of the real thing. Nevertheless, many patients have felt relief of symptoms through this method.
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Conditions for Puncture Application
There is a broad and extensive list of ailments which can be treated with acupuncture. The conditions run the gamut from asthma to constipation, anxiety to weight loss. Most TCM practitioners believe that any health condition results from an imbalance in Qi flow, therefore amenable to needle therapy. Western acupuncturists tend to have a more limited list of indications, the most common of which is undoubtedly control of pain.
Control of pain is the most well researched of all of the indications for acupuncture. There is a definite beneficial effect for a majority of patients using this method. Migraines, premenstrual syndrome, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuralgias are but a few examples. The theory behind its effectiveness is also medically accepted and well researched, called the gate-control theory of pain. It states that the needles can stimulate nerves so that they block the impulses from pain triggers.
Expected Puncture Session Result
It is important to emphasize that acupuncture is used only on top of existing medical therapy. At no time should a patient discontinue medication or ignore medical instructions in favor of needle puncture. After undergoing a needle puncture regimen, the primary care physician can make an evaluation with regards to decreasing dependence on other therapies.
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A course of acupuncture therapy will last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This depends upon the complexity of the particular medical condition. Results also vary, so it is important to have a frank discussion with the acupuncturist regarding expected results and their time frame. In general, the patient will begin to feel beneficial effects after three or four session. Certain specific conditions will actually get a little worse before improving so keeping informed is key.
In modern medicine, the use of traditional techniques with proven results has become a widely accepted practice. Acupuncture has proven its worth time and again. Modern practice guidelines make it effective, reproducible, and safe. It is a gift of healing form ancient sages that has the potential to bring relief to millions of people.