Can you imagine how effective a health care discipline must be to stand the test of time for hundreds of generations? With a large portion of the media and research focusing their attention on the newest surgeries and medications, valuable and essential forms of health care are being forgotten. With acupuncture being practiced as a medical system for over 2400 years, its safety and effectiveness have been proven time and time again. While acupuncture alone has been shown to be the best line of treatment for many conditions, it can also be incorporated into various treatment plans to increase results and decrease treatment time. We would like to provide you with some basic information about acupuncture and to see if you could be one of the millions of people to benefit from its application.
Acupuncture is a technique in which a licensed chiropractor will stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin needles into the skin. Also, there may be an application of electrical stimulation at very precise puncture points.
As mentioned earlier, acupuncture has been practiced as a system of medicine for over 2400 years, but its philosophy and roots predate recorded history. In fact, it is believed that acupuncture was first performed using needles that were actually formed from grinding stones into fine points. As time progressed, the first text describing acupuncture as a system of medicine was produced around 300 B.C. (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine). Soon after its introduction, finely crafted metal needles replaced the stone variety and it has been recorded that royalty routinely used gold and silver needles. While this original text has been revised, edited, and added to for thousands of years, it still serves as the foundation for the contemporary medical system. Today, acupuncture has been incorporated into many western paradigms and is practiced in hospitals and private health care clinics across the world.
With all the toxins present in our various environments, it is important that our bodies are well suited to interact and deal with each challenge that we face. While traditional and western explanations of acupuncture vary, each fundamentally deals with acclimating our body to our surroundings. After thousands of years of research, various points across the body have been located that have a significant impact on our body's overall physiology. Typically, depending on the desired end result, fine needles are meticulously positioned at these points to stimulate various aspects of our hormonal, immune, and endocrine systems. Once these systems have been stimulated, a number of neurotransmitters, natural pain killers, and hormones are released. Patients at our clinic have described the following effects following acupuncture treatments:
- Decreases in muscles spasms and pain
- Decrease in swelling at various points across the body
- A general decrease in pain
- A decrease in illnesses due to stimulation of the immune system
- Lower levels of back and neck pain
- Fewer headaches
- Improved digestion
- Overall better sleep
- Fewer injuries during recreational sports
- Females report less gynecological issues
Acupuncture needles are sterile, thin, and flexible. You can fit close to 10 acupuncture needles inside of a hypodermic needle like you would see at the Medical Doctor. Most patients only feel a slight poke during the insertion of the needles, and some don’t feel any pain. Also, the risk of infection is extremely low since the doctor only uses single use sterilized needles and alcohol swabs at the points before needling.
The first thing to understand prior to an acupuncture session is that the needles used are much different than those that you would typically encounter at a hospital. In fact, most patients describe their acupuncture treatment as a calm and relaxing experience. In fact, some patients report feeling little to nothing at all.
On your first visit to our clinic, we will begin by performing a thorough history and examination. After the results are analyzed, we will identify the problematic areas and develop an individualized treatment plan. After the sterile needles are positioned, patients typically rest for 30-45 minutes as the treatment takes its course. Depending on the individual case, massage, moist heat, or cold packs may be combined with the therapy. The total visit typically lasts around an hour.
As with many conditions, the treatment effect can vary depending on the severity of the problem. Many patients report feeling immediate relief, while others describe noticing changes up to two days following the therapy. Depending on the patient and the number of visits, relief may last anywhere from a few hours to several weeks. It will be important to monitor this so that your treatment schedule can be altered appropriately.
While side effects are minimal, some patients have reported minor bouts of nausea, bruising, muscle pain, and difficulty sleeping following their initial treatment. If this occurs don't be alarmed and notify your treating health care professional prior to your next visit.