What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine method that involves inserting very thin needles into specific points on the body. The practice is believed to stimulate the central nervous system by releasing chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These biochemical changes can stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
The Origins of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years in China and other parts of Asia. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is vital energy that flows through the body’s channels called meridians. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncturists believe that energy flow can be rebalanced, leading to improved health and well-being. (Harvard)
Health Benefits of Acupuncture
There are many health benefits associated with acupuncture. Some of the most common conditions treated with acupuncture include: (John Hopkins, NCCIH)
- back or neck pain
- Knee pain associated with osteoarthritis
- postoperative pain
- Joint pain associated with aromatase inhibitor use in breast cancer patients
- Headaches, including tension headaches and migraines
- Menstrual pains
- Respiratory disorders such as allergic rhinitis
- Tennis elbow
Acupuncture for pain relief
Research has shown that acupuncture can be helpful for a number of pain conditions. In a study comparing acupuncture to conventional care, patients who received acupuncture experienced an average 33% reduction in pain six months after completing treatment, compared to a 22% reduction for those who received conventional treatment.
Acupuncture for weight loss
In recent years, acupuncture has gained attention for its potential role in aiding weight loss efforts. While acupuncture alone is not a weight loss solution, it can complement a comprehensive weight management plan. Some ways acupuncture can help with weight loss include:
- Regulation of appetite. Acupuncture can help regulate appetite and reduce cravings, which can promote healthier eating habits and portion control.
- Stress reduction. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress, acupuncture can help prevent emotional eating and support overall well-being.
- Hormonal balance. Acupuncture can help balance hormones such as insulin and cortisol, which can affect metabolism and weight management.
- Digestive support. Acupuncture treatments can help improve digestion, address digestive imbalances, and optimize nutrient absorption.
How to start acupuncture as a beginner
If you are considering acupuncture, it is important to choose a qualified practitioner. Here are some steps to help you find the right acupuncture.
- Ask for advice from people you trust.
- Check the practitioner’s training and credentials. Many states require non-physician acupuncturists to pass an exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
- Interview the practitioner to learn about their treatment approach, the likelihood of success for your condition, and the cost of treatment.
- Find out if your insurance covers acupuncture treatment.
Different types of acupuncture
There are several types of acupuncture, including:
– Traditional Chinese acupuncture. This is the most common form of acupuncture, which involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the body. (Mayo Clinic)
– Electroacupuncture. This technique uses mild electrical pulses applied to needles to stimulate acupuncture points.
– Ear acupuncture. This form of acupuncture focuses on the ear, with needles inserted into specific points believed to correspond to various organs, emotions, or sensory sensations.
– Scalp acupuncture. As the name suggests, this technique involves inserting needles into specific points on the scalp that are often used to treat neurological conditions and pain management.
Acupuncture Risks and Precautions
The risks of acupuncture are low when performed by a competent, certified practitioner using sterile needles. Common side effects include pain and minor bleeding or bruising at the needle insertion sites. Single-use, single-use needles are now standard of practice, minimizing the risk of infection. However, not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture. Before treatment, tell the practitioner if you: (Physiotherapy)
- Have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications
- Have a pacemaker
- They are pregnant
Special precautions for acupuncture treatment
Some individuals may require special precautions during acupuncture treatment, including:
- Bleeding trends
- Unclear diagnosis
- Abnormal physical structure
- Need to drive after acupuncture treatment
- Strong reactions to acupuncture
In conclusion, acupuncture therapy offers many health benefits, including pain relief, weight loss, and overall health. If you are considering acupuncture, it is important to find a qualified practitioner and discuss your specific needs and concerns. With proper care and precautions, acupuncture can be a valuable addition to your health routine.
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Disclaimer. The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.