The Basics of Acupuncture
A Brief History
Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2000 years. It is one of the oldest medical treatments still being
practiced in the developed world. Despite being associated mainly with China, people all over the world have been using acupuncture for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.
Acupuncture involves placing very thin needles, much smaller than those used for injections, into the skin at specific points on the body. This is thought to correct imbalances in a person’s chi; energy flowing through the body. It is this imbalance that is believed to cause disease. Acupuncture is performed by a trained Acupuncturist who knows what type of treatment will be most beneficial to their patient. The Acupuncturist will decide how many treatments will be needed and where on the body they will take place. Most people do not experience any discomfort during acupuncture treatments because the needles used are so thin. Acupuncture brings immediate pain relief to many people.
Acupuncture has been used to treat numerous diseases and conditions. In fact, there is an acupuncture point for almost anything you can think of. There are even acupuncture points to treat addiction, infertility, and obesity. One of the most common uses of acupuncture is to relieve pain caused by anything from headaches, to arthritis, to cancer. It’s pain relieving properties are so powerful that in his book, Acupuncture: It’s Place in Western Medical Science, Dr. George T Lewith says that acupuncture has even been used as anesthesia during cesarean sections in China.
Possible Side Effects
According to the American Journal of Acupuncture, acupuncture is considered to be extremely safe. Most serious side effects occur as a result of an unqualified practitioner.These rare side effects include infection caused by improperly sterilized needles, Puncture of a vital organ, burns from heated needles, accidental abortion, and needles broken off in the skin. Again, these are very rare and not something that would occur with a properly trained acupuncturist. Slightly more common are minor, temporary side effect such as muscle spasms, minor pain at the acupuncture point, and nausea.
Finding an Acupuncturist
It should be relatively easy to find an acupuncturist in any city. In very small towns it may be a bit more difficult. Start by talking to friends or family who have had a positive experience with acupuncture. Your primary care physician may also be able to identify a qualified acupuncturist. Another option is to contact the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Once you find an acupuncturist make sure it is someone you are comfortable talking to about your health and lifestyle. Ask them about their training and experience. Above all, make sure this is someone knowledgeable that you trust. This will put your mind at ease, keep you safe, and most importantly, get you on the road to recovery.