What is Acupuncture and Does It Work?
The word “acupuncture” has been thrown around by friends, family, and physicians for years. What exactly is acupuncture treatment? To understand acupuncture we need to understand the history.
Acupuncture originated in China and was first recorded in written literature a few hundred years before the common era. The original tradition of acupuncture believed in energy flowing through the body to cure illness and create balance. Acupuncture continued to be developed and transformed into one of the standard therapies in Chinese medicine.
Fast forward to today and acupuncture is now a common therapy across the world and is no longer an exotic treatment. Modern day acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with solid, metal needles which are then stimulated through gentle movements by hand. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the nervous system to help promote physical and mental well-being. Acupuncture is most commonly used to help treat chronic pains and is regarded by many to be an effective alternative to opioid and pain blocking drugs.
So, how effective really is acupuncture? According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), studies suggest that acupuncture works well on chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and even headaches. The number of acupuncture treatments needed depends heavily on the condition. A patient with chronic pain may need one or two treatments per week to help aid discomfort while an acute pain problem normally will improve after 8 to 12 sessions. Acupuncture has been proven to be an effective alternative method to conventional pain management methods.
However, there are a few risks associated with acupuncture which should be noted. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices. It is important to ensure your acupuncturist only uses needles which meet the FDA regulations. Additionally, acupuncture should not be implemented on skin with bleeding, bruising, or excess soreness. As long as you keep these in mind acupuncture can be a great way to treat chronic and acute pains and if it may improve your quality of life it is definitely worth taking a look at.