Acupuncture is one of the best-known natural therapies and is used for a variety of different health purposes. Find out more about the benefits of acupuncture, how acupuncture works, and what you can expect from an acupuncture treatment in this quick guide.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture dates back to ancient times and has traditionally formed part of the Chinese Medicine discipline. Acupuncture is where a trained practitioner inserts tiny needles into specific points on the skin. These points are designed to correspond to certain areas of the body. The technique is designed to stimulate energy flow around the body and therefore remedy many different health conditions. Acupuncture is used to treat many different types of conditions from muscle pain to back pain, headaches to knee pain, osteoarthritis to allergies. It may also be beneficial for conditions affecting the state of mind including depression and anxiety.
What Happens in an Acupuncture Session?
The acupuncture practitioner speaks with you about your health condition, any pain you feel, and what you want to get from the acupuncture sessions. They will then place the tiny needles into the skin along the “meridians” of the body – places where the energy is said to flow. They will check to feel around the needle for evidence that the energy is flowing in that part of the body. The needles remain in place as energy flows and the body is rebalanced.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
While needles are involved in the treatment, acupuncture is largely pain free. You may feel a small sensation at the point the needle is inserted, but there is no lasting pain. In fact, acupuncture can be used for treating various chronic pain conditions and is therefore highly beneficial for taking away discomfort.
Health Benefits of Acupuncture
1) Acupuncture Improves Pain Levels from Joint Pain and Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain and joint pain is very common around the world, with vast numbers of people unable to find relief that works and is long-lasting. Studies show that acupuncture can help improve lower back pain, providing significant reductions in pain to people who have chronic back problems. Other studies have looked at the benefits of acupuncture for treating other types of joint pain including neck pain, shoulder pain, and pain from arthritis. They concluded that the benefits from acupuncture are measurable and amount to more than just the “placebo effect”.
2) Acupuncture for Treating Nausea and Vomiting
One of the lesser-known benefits of acupuncture is for treating nausea and vomiting, whether this is from pregnancy, illness, motion sickness, or the side effects of cancer treatment. It is a particularly useful treatment to administer after surgery, when nausea is a problem following the anesthesia. Studies show that acupuncture is at least as good at relieving nausea and stopping vomiting as medications, and it does so without side effects.
3) Acupuncture Helps Cure Insomnia
Studies from China show that acupuncture has a noticeable beneficial effect on insomnia. People who received acupuncture treatment experienced better results than those people who did not have acupuncture and were taking medications. And one of the main advantages of acupuncture over sleep medications is that it comes with no side effects, and no risk of addiction.
4) Acupuncture Helps With Recovery from Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy for cancer can be emotionally and physically tough, and acupuncture may be able to help with the pain and discomfort associated with the treatment. People undergoing acupuncture experienced fewer side effects, less pain, and also experienced an increase in immunity and a boost to healthy cells during the treatment.
5) Acupuncture Helps with Pregnancy and Postpartum Health
Acupuncture is often recommended as a drug-free treatment to relieve pain and stress during pregnancy, and through labor. Acupuncture is also said to benefit the mind during pregnancy relieving the emotional impact pregnancy has on the woman.
6) Acupuncture for Arthritis
Acupuncture provides a drug-free alternative to treating the debilitating disease of arthritis. It is useful for helping to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and improve mood. Acupuncture brings its benefits without the need for powerful medications that can cause serious side effects.
There is some evidence from small studies that acupuncture can help to reverse the signs of brain aging that can result in diseases such as Parkinson’s. Acupuncture helps to improve the individual symptoms of Parkinson’s, including helping with walking, depression, pain, sleep, and tremor.
8) Acupuncture Reduces Severity of Headaches and Migraines
Acupuncture is said to be highly beneficial for treating tension-like headaches, and many people who complain of headaches and migraines find they are able to take less medication or give up headache medication altogether when they are having acupuncture sessions. It is said to be a soothing way to bring relief to the chronic pain caused by headaches. Treating headaches is one of the main benefits of acupuncture.