Acupuncture has been practiced in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an alternative method of treating disease by inserting thin, flexible needles into targeted points in the body to relieve discomfort and pain and restore the body to its natural balance. Today, acupuncture is widely used by licensed Western medical practitioners as an integrative therapy for pain management with the goal of providing patients with the most comprehensive and high-quality conditioning.
In contrast, many Western practitioners see acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. Some people believe that this stimulation boosts the body’s natural pain relievers.
Acupuncture is primarily used to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including: a variety of acute and chronic pains.
How Do You Prepare?
No special preparation is required before acupuncture treatment.
Choose a Practitioner
Check practitioner training and certifications. Most states require non-physician acupuncturists to pass an exam conducted by the National Accreditation Board for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Interview practitioners. Ask about what is involved in the treatment, how likely it is to help your condition, and how much it will cost. Find out if your insurance covers treatment.
Inform your current doctor that you are considering using or cooperating with acupuncture.
What Can You Expect
Everyone who performs acupuncture has a unique style, often incorporating aspects of Eastern and Western medical approaches. To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will best help you, your doctor may ask about your symptoms, behaviors, and lifestyle. If you are considering acupuncture, you must first consider the doctor you trust after the discussion, and cooperate with the completion of the course of treatment to avoid jumping between different doctors.
This initial assessment and treatment may take more than 60 minutes. Subsequent appointments usually take more than half an hour. A common treatment plan usually consists of one or two treatments per week. The number of treatments will depend on the disease being treated and its severity. Generally speaking, it is common to receive six to eight treatments.
Types of Acupuncture Used for Pain Management
Disposable, sterilized, disposable needles for acupuncture. It’s important to note that acupuncture needles are solid and very thin, which allows them to slide into the skin without pulling epidermis or foreign objects into the body. The procedure is usually not painful; most patients don’t even feel the fine-haired needle when it is inserted or tapped in. In fact, many people find the experience relaxing. Others become energized from treatment. There are many subtle differences in style and point selection. Traditional stimulation of needles includes physical tapping, spinning, or heating the needles with incense, known as moxibustion. Electrical stimulation with needles dates back to the 1930s. The location of acupuncture points usually involves a few needles in the locally affected area, but also at distal points relative to the meridians involved. A typical treatment session lasts about 20-30 minutes.