This is a type of traditional medicine that first began back in China. It’s thought that it might have begun around 3300 BCE. Although the exact time is uncertain.
It’s thought that energy flows through our body in a specific pattern. When this route is disrupted, vital organs aren’t receiving oxygen and other essential nutrients. This is what causes disorders to occur. So an acupuncturist will apply either needles, heat or lasers to specific areas of the body known as meridians to remove the obstacle.
This will stimulate the nerves, tissue, muscle, and organs, which will activate the body’s natural defense and restore the natural energy flow, qi. The end result would be relieved of your symptoms and improve overall well-being.
There is a total of 12 meridians, the one chosen depends on the symptoms that you are experiencing.
How Do These Little Needles Cure So Many Aliments?
Although the exact reason why acupuncture works so well is uncertain, there are several theories. They include gate, Neurotransmitter, Augmentation of Immunity and Circulatory
Doctors believe that the nervous system sends messages to your brain through what is known as the gate. When the gate has so many different messages it will become overloaded and stop sending the pain messages. So acupuncture overwhelms the smaller gates, causing it to shut down. This is what’s known as the gate theory.
With the neurotransmitter theory, it’s thought that the chemical neurotransmitter noradrenaline and Serotonin is stimulated by acupuncture, this increases the body’s natural response while decreasing their symptoms.
The endorphin theory is similar to the one above. Doctors believe that acupuncture causes your body to release endorphins. The increased endorphin level decreases our symptoms.
The Augmentation of immunity theory states that acupuncture raises the levels of white blood cells, hormones, triglycerides, prostaglandins, gamma globulins and other essential body levels. This increase helps the body to create homeostasis, an overall wellbeing.
Circulatory theory believes acupuncture will either open the blood vessels wider or constrict then, make them smaller. This fluctuation is what causes the symptom reduction.
What Can Acupuncture be used for?
People use Acupuncture to treat numerous disorders. Because I’m unable to list them all I’ve chosen the most common. If your illness isn’t listed, please check with an acupuncturist first, before giving up on this treatment choice.
Some of the most common include; pain reduction in the back, neck, face, and shoulder. It’s also shown to relieve headaches, migraines, sports injuries, muscle spasms and contractures. Many use it for disorders like; TMD.
Fibromyalgia, neuropathy, myofascial, sciatica, radiculitis, arthritis, neuritis, tendonitis, neuralgia, osteoarthritis, Bell’s palsy, sexual issues, infertility, gynecological problems, respiratory illness, insomnia, allergies, PMS, skin diseases, digestive issues and cancer treatment.
Some say it helps with constipation, nausea, and vomiting. It is known to reduce stress and depression, it has helped people stop smoking and it helps strengthens your immune system.
How Bad Does This Treatment Hurt?
If you’re like many, the thought of having needles poked into your skin makes you a little squeamish. It did me too at first, but then I did a little research and found out the needles that are used is extremely tiny in diameter.
In fact, the largest needle an acupuncturist might use is 0.0137 inches thick. Where a needle used to draw blood is 1. 5 inches in diameter. That is a huge difference. Many I talked to say they don’t feel the needles because they are so tiny
Does it really work or is it a hoax?
Many people use to believe that acupuncture has the placebo effect. Recently MRI’s have been done during an acupuncture. It has shown a difference in brain wave patterns during the procedure.
I met a lady who sees an acupuncturist for cancer treatment. She’s in her 10th year of remission.
How are the Areas Chosen?
Since there are specific connected energy routes that flow through our body, to our vital organs. The doctor will look at your medical history and the symptoms that you’re experiencing.With his knowledge of traditional oriental medicine, new research and experience, he will choose the areas accordingly.
How Often Should I Go?
The amount of needed treatments depends on three things; the type of disorder, the severity and how long the person’s been suffering.
This is why some only require a few treatments, while others may take a little longer. The acupuncturist can recommend the specific amount of time you will need. Of course, as your body heals, your need for acupuncture will decrease.
Does This Treatment Take a Long Time?
The length of the visit depends on the treatment plan. Generally, it doesn’t last for more than an hour. Once the needles are placed the doctor may choose to leave them up to forty-five minutes. Again it depends on the severity of the disorder.
Are There Things I Should and shouldn’t do Beforehand?
Before the Treatment
If you feel hungry you’re allowed to eat a small light meal.
Be sure to wear something that is loose and comfortable. So it will be easier to do your treatment.
Don’t drink, take drugs, put yourself in a stressful situation, or do too much activity for 6 hours. Many acupuncturists will advise you to use these 6 hours to rest.
Make sure you jot down any changes you’re feeling and questions you might have.
Don’t eat a large meal for at least an hour afterward.
What will happen when I Arrive?
Once you arrive the acupuncturist will get your full medical history. They will also ask you about your symptoms and ask you about personal habits.
The acupuncturist will palpate different areas of your body and check pulse points. All of these steps will help the acupuncturist determine your plan of care.
The Prickly Truth
Acupuncture began in China thousands of years ago. Since making its way to the western culture its cured people of numerous illnesses.
Although many don’t believe this treatment’s helpful, MRI and personal testimony have proven otherwise.