Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine healing technique which dates back to 3000 years ago. It is also popular in the US as a therapeutic remedy to relieve bodily pain. The procedure might not seem so pleasant but it is actually not as painful as it looks.

How does acupuncture work?

It enhances the body’s functions and improves the natural self-healing process by activating specific anatomic sites Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing mechanism by revitalizing specific anatomic sites or acupuncture points, or commonly named acupoints. In order to stimulate acupoints, fine and sterile needles are inserted into the skin. The effects of acupuncture can be further improved by heat, pressure, or electrical stimulation. There are other techniques in acupoint include such as manual massage, heat therapy, cupping, and the application of herbal medicines and liniments.

Acupuncture technique is based on an ancient philosophy that depicts the universe as well as the body in two opposing forces namely yin and yang. The body is said to be healthy if these two forces are balanced. Specific energy called “qi” or “chee” streams along pathways through the body. The continual circulation of energy along the pathways keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. So what happens if the flow of “gi” gets blocked? This results to pain, illness, and lack of function.

To release the blocked “gi”, the pathways where the energy flows must be accessed and stimulated. This is where the acupoints come in. By inserting needles into the 350 acupoints, the energy flow can be brought back into its usual balance.

The healthy benefits of acupuncture are:
• It is generally safe when performed correctly;
• There are no negative side effects;
• It is considered an efficient combination treatment;
• It can reduce bodily pain;
• It may be an alternative for patients who don’t respond to pain medications;
• It successfully treats symptoms of musculoskeletal problems;
• It treats headaches and migraine;
• It alleviates anxiety, depression;
• It relieves stress and fatigue;
• It induces good sleep and prevents insomnia;
• It can help reduce menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea;
• It is a good treatment for infertility problems.

The potential risks of acupuncture are:
• It is dangerous for patients with bleeding disorder;
• It is unsafe for patients taking blood thinners;
• Possible bleeding, bruising and swelling at the acupoints;
• At very rare instances, the needle may break causing severe damage to an internal organ;
• It can cause infection if needles are unsterilized;
• At very rare instances, needled inserted deeply into the chest can lead to a risk of a collapsed lung.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Losing weight has been a major problem especially for older people as their metabolism tends to slow down as they age. Acupuncture was recently found to help you lose extra pounds. It works by giving you extra energy while suppressing your appetite. It also improves digestion so the food you eat is immediately broken down and burned by the body. By eating less and burning more calories, the stored fat in the body is utilized as fuel for the body and burned, thus resulting to leaner muscles.

For obese people who are desperate to lose weight and have tried any possible things to lose weight but to no avail, acupuncture might just be the solution. This treatment allows you to relax and lose weight at the same, right at the comfort of a treatment bed. But just like any weight loss programs out there, you need to incorporate the treatment with proper diet and exercise to facilitate its weight loss benefit.

Acupuncture can help you quit smoking

Many smokers have tried quitting their habits but most of them failed and went back smoking to a heavier degree. Of course, we are all aware of the health risks of nicotine to our body and in order to prevent these risks is to quit smoking before it gets worse. But quitting smoking is difficult; it’s the same feeling when you are not allowed to eat your favorite food because it’s bad for your health. If you think nothing can help you in your quest to quit smoking, try acupuncture. It is said to be effective in reducing cigarettes cravings. The same way it helps weight loss in reducing cravings for food.

Acupuncture for animals

Veterinary medicine is also starting to employ the benefits of acupuncture. A certain case at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech explains how a mare with ankle infection was treated by a combination of acupuncture and traditional therapy.

What happens during an acupuncture treatment?

Initially, the acupuncturist will ask you regarding your medical history. Then he or she will inspect the shape and color of your tongue, feel your purse, and possibly carry out several physical examinations depending on your health needs. With the use of these assessment techniques, the acupuncturist can come out with an appropriate treatment plan suitable for your body condition.

After the assessment process and the results come out well, you are asked to lie down comfortably on a treatment table while specific acupoints are stimulated on different parts of your body. You won’t feel any discomfort because the very fine needles are gently injected into your skin. The needles are to stay injected for 5 up to 30 minutes. Most people who have undergone this treatment claimed they feel very relaxed during and after the treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of acupuncture sessions varies from person to person. Some people feel immediate relief right after the first treatment, while some people with chronic conditions are required to undertake one to two treatments in a week for several months. People with acute problems are recommended to have a total of eight to ten treatments. Depending on the assessment result, your acupuncturist will advise you the frequency of your treatment.

How to choose the right acupuncturist?

Acupuncture is a delicate procedure and when performed incorrectly can be dangerous and fatal. Before committing for a treatment, make sure your acupuncturist is licensed. Acupuncture license is regulated on the state level.