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The practice of acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting ultra-thin needles into specific parts of a person's body, and it is done to help with stress management and improve wellness.
According to traditional Chinese medicine literature, acupuncture helps to balance the flow of energy all people have. This energy/life force is called chi, and it is believed to travel through pathways in the body called meridians. Those who practice acupuncture believe inserting needles into these meridians helps to balance the patient's blood flow.
Some western acupuncture practitioners view the points used in the practice as places where connective tissues, muscles and nerves can be stimulated. Their belief is that simulating these points boosts the production of the body's natural painkillers.
Who needs acupuncture?
Acupuncture is primarily used to reduce pain and relieve the discomfort caused by a variety of health conditions like:
- Chemotherapy-induced pain and discomfort
- Dental pain
- Post-labor pain
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Pain and discomfort caused by respiratory disorders like allergic rhinitis
What to expect when getting acupuncture treatments
Many acupuncture therapists have their own unique styles, which typically consists of a blend of Western and Eastern approaches to medicine. In order to provide the patient with the highest level of care possible, the therapist will talk to the patient about their symptoms, lifestyle and behaviors. This includes examining:
- Parts of the body that are causing pain and discomfort
- The color, shape and coating of the patient's tongue
- The quality, rhythm and strength of the pulse in their wrist
- The color of the patient's face
The evaluation phase and initial treatment can take up to an hour combined. Follow-up treatments usually take about 30 minutes since a profile has already been developed for the patient. The average treatment plan consists of one or two treatments per week. The severity of the condition the patient has dictates how many treatments they end up getting. Most patients get somewhere between 6 to 8 treatments.
Given the fact the points targeted during acupuncture are all over the body, the patient might be advised to remove some of their clothing. They will be provided with a gown or towel to wear and asked to lie down on a patted table.
During the treatment, the acupuncture therapist will insert thin needles into specific points in the patient's body based on their unique circumstances. This typically does not cause much discomfort for the person. Many people do not feel them being inserted. The patient might experience a mild aching feeling when the needles reach the desired depth.
The therapist might gently twirl or move the needles during treatment or apply electrical charges or heat to them. The needles are typically kept in place for up to 20 minutes while the patient stays still and relaxed. The needles are then removed. It usually causes no discomfort or pain when being taken out.
Life after acupuncture
Some patients feel energized and refreshed right after treatments, while others start seeing improvements after a few weeks. For many, acupuncture provides relief from painful health conditions when conventional treatments have failed.
It allows patients to go back to their regular routines and move forward with their lives.
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