Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions, involves the insertion of very thin needles into specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. This ancient practice is growing in popularity in the Western world, and many people are curious about it.
South Tampa Wellness Spas’ board-certified (NCCAOM) and Florida state licensed Acupuncture Physician specializes in sports medicine, addiction, trigger point therapy, acupuncture injection therapy, life transitions, acute and chronic pain, and whole-body wellness. This blog post will answer 10 common questions about acupuncture and provide you with some information about this fascinating treatment modality!
What is the history of acupuncture?
Acupuncture originated in China and has been used for over 3000 years to treat various health conditions. The exact origins of acupuncture are unknown, but it is thought to have developed from the Stone Age practice of using sharp objects to puncture the skin for therapeutic purposes. Acupuncture became a formalized system of medicine during the Huangdi Neijing era (2697-2597 BCE) when medical texts were written that described the theory behind this treatment modality and how to perform it correctly. Since then, acupuncture has been used extensively throughout Asia and has only recently gained popularity in Western countries.
How does acupuncture work?
The traditional Chinese explanation for how acupuncture works is that it helps to balance the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”) in the body. Qi is the life force that runs through all living things, and when it is balanced, we are healthy. However, when there is an imbalance in our qi, this can lead to illness. Acupuncture is thought to correct these imbalances and restore health. Modern science has provided some explanations for how acupuncture may work. One theory is that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the brain. Another theory suggests that acupuncture may help regulate the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin and muscles.
What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?
Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain, but it can also be effective for various other conditions. Acupuncture is helpful for nausea, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. It is also sometimes used to help with fertility issues and addictions.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Most people report feeling only minimal discomfort when the needles are inserted. Once the needles are in place, many people report feeling relaxed and even sleepy. Some people experience temporary bruising or soreness at the needle sites after treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments needed will vary depending on the condition being treated and the individual’s response to acupuncture. In general, acute conditions will require fewer treatments than chronic conditions. Most people notice some improvement after just a few treatments, but a series of treatments are often needed to achieve the best results. How long does each treatment take?
Each acupuncture treatment usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. During this time, the practitioner will insert needles into specific points on the body. Once the needles are in place, they will be left there for 20-30 minutes while the patient relaxes.
What should I expect during an acupuncture treatment?
When you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a health history form. The practitioner will then ask you about your symptoms and current health concerns. They may also perform a physical exam and take your pulse.
Once the initial consultation is complete, the practitioner will begin placing needles into specific points on your body. You may be asked to lie down on a massage table or sit in a chair during the treatment. The needles used for acupuncture are very thin and usually cause only minimal discomfort when they are inserted.
After the needles have been placed, you will be left to relax for 20-30 minutes. During this time, you may experience a variety of sensations, including tingling, heaviness, or warmth. Some people feel very relaxed and even fall asleep during their treatment!
When the treatment is finished, the practitioner will remove the needles and give you some time to rest before you leave. They may also give you some advice on self-care or lifestyle changes that can help to improve your health.
Do I need to take anything with me to my appointment?
You should wear loose-fitting clothing that allows easy access to your arms and legs. You may also want to bring a list of any medications you are taking as well as any questions you may have for the practitioner. Most importantly, relax and enjoy your treatment!