What to Expect From Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture is an ancient medical practice developed in China; it was introduced to the Western world in the early 1970s. The treatment is most commonly used to reduce pain and stress levels. The technique is performed by an experienced and licensed professional and involves the insertion of fine, thin needles into the skin at specific points of the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is described as a method to balance the flow of energy (chi or qi) via pathways through the body. In the Western world, it is considered an alternative treatment. Acupuncture practitioners believe that the strategic placement of the needles stimulates muscles, nerves and connective tissues. Many alternative medical professionals believe this stimulation increases natural pain-fighting chemicals and boosts blood flow in the body.
Acupuncture therapy is used to ease the pain and discomfort that accompany an array of chronic pain conditions: neck pain, low back pain, headaches (including migraine headaches and tension headaches), osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and various other chronic pain conditions. It is also used to ease chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea, labor pain, menstrual cramps, dental pain and numerous other medical conditions.
Acupuncture practitioners often combine the Eastern and Western approaches to treatment. During the first visit, an evaluation is usually conducted to establish what form of acupuncture therapy will be most beneficial. The practitioner will usually ask questions regarding lifestyle, behaviors and symptoms in order to tailor the best treatment approach. The acupuncture specialist may also observe:
The initial evaluation usually takes approximately one hour.
Depending on the treatment area, an individual may need to remove their clothing and use a provided towel, gown or sheet to maintain privacy. Acupuncture is performed while the individual is lying down on a padded table. The treatment involves the following:
Following acupuncture treatment, some people feel energized; whereas, other people feel relaxed. It is important to give acupuncture time to work. If no improvement in symptoms is acquired within several weeks, acupuncture may not be the right treatment for the individual.