Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, it is used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has proven to provide pain relief, ease suffering, and reduce tension and stress.
Looking at the popularity of acupuncture, many insurance companies have started to recognize it as a Complimentary Alternative Medicine and are offering this treatment within their health plans. Today the world is moving at a very fast pace and there is very little to no free time available for the individual.
To remain fit and healthy has become a real challenge. Most of us often suffer stress related problems like the nausea, back pain, lethargy etc. There are prescribed medications available to assist with the symptoms but the available medications are not free from their own form of side effects. It is not always practically possible to go to work suffering from drowsiness or lethargy caused by the commercial medications for example. To avoid this situation there are only two ways available, one take time off work which is not possible on regular basis or the second is to bear the sufferings of the pain or the disease and keep on working, which is not possible for long periods. For these very reasons people started hunting for the alternative remedies and thus acupuncture gained its relevance and importance in the modern world.
In the Chinese language acupuncture is known as zhen jiu. Acupuncture is actually the technique of restoring the health and treating pain and diseases by inserting tubular needles into the different vantage points of the body known as the acupuncture point.
Acupuncture works on the principle that nature flows within the human body and it is controlled by the vital life energy termed as Qi (pronounced chee). This energy, or life force, circulates around the body through invisible channels called meridians. If the flow of Qi in the meridians is disrupted, then disease may follow.
By inserting fine needles into particular acupuncture points, the disruption can be corrected and the flow of Qi restored. To begin with, the acupuncturist questions the patient about the ailment and various other relevant facts and also performs a physical examination of the patient before starting the acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture needles are metallic, solid, and hair-thin. People experience acupuncture differently, but most feel no or minimal pain as the needles are inserted. Some people are energized by treatment, while others feel relaxed. Depending on the location of the treatment, the patient will either sit or lie down. Properly done, acupuncture is painless because the needles are very fine (around 0.2mm in width). Once inserted, the patient may feel mild tingling around the site, warmth or heaviness, or even nothing at all.
An acupuncturist may use other techniques including:
1. Cupping - suction designed to bring Qi and blood to the acupuncture point.
2. Chinese herbs - either mixed by the acupuncturist or in pre-prepared tablet or granulated form.
3. Laser - used instead of the needles to activate acupuncture points.
4. TCM remedial massage - techniques applied to specific acupuncture points or meridians.
5. Moxibustion - burning herbs held over or applied to acupuncture points.
Does acupuncture hurt? That is the most common question asked. The whole process may be termed as a painless process but the degree of pain bearing differs from person to person. Most of the patients have stated that there is virtually no pain at all or it is very minimal, like the pain you suffer while plucking hair.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the treatment as a whole also depends upon the expertise of the acupuncturist. It should be made clear that acupuncture may not provide instant relief from the ailment or that only one visit to the acupuncturist would suffice.
Factors to consider is the severity of the ailment and also that the degree of recovery differs from person to person. Acupuncture is an alternative remedy so many people do not rely on the procedure completely. Some patients do report a noticeable difference with one visit to the acupuncturist, but usually it takes many visits to get satisfactory improvement.
Pharmaceutical companies are churning out drugs and medicines for possibly all ailments and diseases to meet the requirements of the people wanting a "quick fix", but where is the warning about the dangerous side effects that these drugs and medications bring along with them? We have mentioned the side effects of the commercial drugs and other medications so it is practically correct to ask about the side effects of acupuncture.
There is a risk of negative side effects from acupuncture, but the quantum of the risk is very low compared to the alternate commercial remedies. The main side effects of this process is due to the improper sterilization of the used needles or placing the needles too deep in the body which can cause small bleeds, dizziness etc. These things happen when any poorly trained acupuncturist handles the patient. Therefore it is very important for you to go to a qualified acupuncturist and for the purpose it may require you to research as you do before going to the physician or the dentist.
Whether or not you believe in the philosophy of Qi makes no difference to the effects of acupuncture. Scientific trials around the world have found that acupuncture is a safe and useful treatment for many different disorders. Acupuncture is certainly worth a try. It offers relatively very low risk of side effects and may assist in reducing independence from the load of the commercial drugs and medications available. It is definitely worth a try.