Acupuncture may help reduce stress and ease pain associated with certain conditions and help with many other health problems. Take a few days to learn about acupuncture, where to find an acupuncture practitioner, what the first experience is like, and what it can do for you.
Intro to Acupuncture
During acupuncture very thin needles are lightly inserted into your skin. Alternatively, acupuncturists can also use manual pressure. Acupuncture has been studied for its benefits with many types of pain. Acupuncturists believe it corrects energy imbalances in the body.
Western doctors believe it stimulates natural chemicals in your body called endorphins that block pain signals.
Here's what a first acupuncture visit is typically like.
A licensed acupuncturist:
1. Examines you and asks about your health history
2. Searches for blocked energy and identifies your constitutional pattern. This may occur by taking your pulse, examining your tongue, and looking at your skin and eyes.
3. Uses established landmarks to determine the placement of very thin needles
4. Quickly taps the needles into your skin
Some people feel slight pressure, but most feel no pain from the needles. The area may tingle, feel numb, itch, or be a little sore.
Treatment lasts 15 minutes to an hour. You may about need 5 to 10 treatments. Treatments are usually individualized. Two patients with the same symptoms often do not get the same treatment.
Acupuncture may be a useful treatment for many pain-related conditions, including:
* Carpal tunnel syndrome
* Low back pain
* Menstrual cramps
* Myofascial pain
* Osteoarthritis (especially of the knee)
* Tennis elbow
There are other conditions for which acupuncture may be useful:
Acupuncture may be an alternative to, or may be included in, a comprehensive pain management program. Ask your doctor whether it's right for you.
Here's how to find a licensed acupuncturist near you:
* Ask your doctor for a referral.
* Check the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture or the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Before starting acupuncture:
* If you have health insurance, find out if it will cover acupuncture for your condition.
* Ask how many treatments you should expect and how much they'll cost.