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Acupuncture Basics

June 11, 2024

Did you know that acupuncture is one of the fastest-growing fields of alternative medicine? The last few decades have brought incredible advances in medicine. However, this tried-and-true practice has also gained quite a bit of respect and attention in recent years. It is now very commonly used as an alternative, holistic, or integrative medical therapy. We’re proud to offer it here at Amesbarry Chiropractic, and we are always happy to answer questions. Read on as a local Savage, MN acupuncturist offers some basic information on acupuncture. 

How Does Acupuncture Work? 

Acupuncture, as you may know, is based on the use of thin needles. These are inserted into the body at very specific points. Sometimes a very mild electrical current is used as stimulation. 

You may find it interesting to note that Western and Eastern medicine view the practice very differently.

According to Chinese tradition, these points are the paths and intersections that channel energy (Qi) through the body, much the way that pipes, channels, and canals move water through a city or wires conduct electricity through your house. Ultimately, this allows healing energy to move through the body. 

Modern Western medicine approaches the matter a bit more pragmatically, noting that the same points are actually nerve centers. Stimulating the nervous system in this way triggers the release of natural hormones, or endorphins. These in turn reduce pain and inflammation and improve circulation, which is crucial to healing. 

What Are The Key Benefits Of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture offers some very attractive benefits. For one thing, there is no medication needed. The treatments can be repeated as often as needed, which allows for a custom-tailored plan. And while you may not think that having needles inserted into your skin is very pleasant, the process is usually painless.

Of course, the main benefit would be the results of acupuncture. These include better sleep, reduced pain, lowered anxiety, mood improvement, and lessened depression. 

When Was Acupuncture Invented?

Acupuncture is an ancient practice. It has been used in China for thousands of years. In fact, it is mentioned in Huangdi Neijing, or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. Believed to have been written by the Chinese emperor Huangdi, the book may have been written as far back as 2600 BC. What’s even more fascinating is that acupuncture was described as an “organized system of diagnosis and treatment,” which suggests that it had already been in use for some time. Sharpened stones and bones that may have been used for acupuncture have been dated back to about 6000 BCE. 

What Medical Issues Is Acupuncture Used To Treat? 

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of medical issues. It is also often utilized as a complement to other treatment options. For instance, cancer patients may find relief from pain and nausea as they are undergoing more traditional treatments. 

Acupuncture may be used to treat chronic pain from sciatica, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis. It can also be used to help those who suffer from migraines. It is also an option for those with digestive issues, such as constipation, IBS, colitis, and gastritis, and may also help those with issues such as menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Additionally, it can be a tool for those fighting obesity, though of course, it would need to be combined with diet and exercise. Cancer patients may find it helps with side effects of chemo and radiation, such as nausea, fatigue, and dry mouth. In fact, many cancer centers now include it in their treatment programs.

Here are some of the other conditions it may be helpful with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dental pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Blood pressure control
  • Headaches (including migraines)
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Tennis elbow
  • Allergies
  • Depression
  • Improved digestion
  • Cognitive clarity
  • Addiction
  • Low Energy
  • Knee pain

Acupuncture may also help with other issues, such as acne, infertility, and diabetes, though more studies are needed. 

How Fast Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain? 

That varies from person to person and also depends very much on the issue being treated. Some people may experience immediate improvement, while for others, the effect is more cumulative. 

Is Acupuncture Safe For Everyone?

Acupuncture is quite safe, and side effects are very rare. However, it may not be the right option for everyone. In fact, it should not be performed on patients with certain conditions.

  • While acupuncture can help ease anxiety, it should not be used on anyone with delusional psychosis. 
  • Patients with an AICD Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, which is similar to a pacemaker, cannot safely undergo acupuncture that utilizes electric current, as it may interfere with the device.
  • Acupuncture is also not recommended for pregnant women. 

Ask your acupuncture therapist for more information.

How Long Do Acupuncture Sessions Take? 

Acupuncture sessions may last up to an hour. However, many sessions are shorter than that. It ultimately depends on the issue being treated. The diagnosis will also determine how many needles are inserted. In some cases, only a few needles may be needed. For others, up to 40 needles may be inserted.  

Your acupuncturist will be able to go over details about personalized treatment plans after or during your initial consultation. 

How Long Do Acupuncture Needles Stay In?

Generally, the needles are left in place for about 20 to 30 minutes.

How Will I Feel After Acupuncture? 

That really varies from person to person. Many people report feeling very relaxed both during and after acupuncture sessions. Others seem to have more energy than usual. Some people also seem to feel unusually emotional and sensitive after acupuncture. 

It’s not uncommon for patients to feel a bit under the weather immediately after treatments. This is a natural effect of the body starting to heal. You might feel a bit stiff and sore, and you may notice gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea. It’s also not uncommon for people to feel tired the next day. These symptoms usually resolve quickly, within a day or so, and, for many patients, will continually get milder. Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and remember that this is part of the healing process.  

What Are The Risks Of Acupuncture? 

While the risk of severe complications is extremely low, it’s not uncommon for people to feel temporary side effects, as mentioned above. The main possible side effect would be the chance of a needle breaking, which is quite rare, though not impossible. 

It is crucial to seek out a certified practitioner and ensure that they are using sterile needles. This is rarely an issue today, as many acupuncture clinics opt for single-use needles, to reduce the risk of any infection. However, it’s still worth mentioning. 

Conclusion: Acupuncture is an ancient practice that has been proven effective in treating a variety of medical issues, which range from nausea, anxiety, depression, and headaches, to name a few. The treatment is sometimes used in combination with other therapies, but can also be booked by itself. 

Book An Acupuncture Appointment In Savage, MN

Do you want to book an acupuncture appointment? Are you suffering from chronic pain? Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. As your Savage, MN chiropractic care center, we are here for you! 

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