One aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine is acupuncture. It has been used as a treatment for healing for over 3,000 years. The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1997 documented and publicized acupuncture as a safe and effective method for treating a variety of medical conditions. It is now covered by most medical insurance policies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a philosophy that describes the world, and a person’s body, as having two equal and opposing forces. They are known as yin and yang. When these two forces are in balance, a person will be healthy. They are kept in balance by the flow of energy in the body called qi. When this energy becomes blocked illness can occur. Acupuncture is a natural method of correcting the energy flow in a person’s body. During the process, sterile needles are put into a person’s skin. Heat or electrical stimulation may also be used to increase the effect. The needles are placed at anatomic sites or acupoints that are located on the body. Research has shown that acupuncture has a positive effect on a person’s endocrine, immune systems as well as nervous systems and more. When acupuncture is used to stimulate these different systems, it can relieve pain, improve digestion and a provide a number of other heath benefits.
Prior to the start of treatment, an acupuncturist will want to know about a person’s health history. They will look at a person’s tongue and note the color, shape and coating. A person will then have their pulse checked and a few more examinations. Once this assessment is completed, an acupuncturist will be able to devise a treatment plan based on a person’s individual needs. During an acupuncture session, a person will lay on a treatment table and be made comfortable. Needles will be placed into different areas of their body. Most people experience very little or no discomfort during the treatment. The needles may stay in a person’s body for as little as five minutes and up to 30 minutes.
People seek acupuncture treatments for a number of health conditions. Many studies have shown its effectiveness in treating nausea associated with chemotherapy, pregnancy as well as after surgery. It has been effective when used for stroke rehabilitation, headaches, lower back pain, asthma, fibromyalgia, muscle pain, tennis elbow, labor pain, dental pain and more. Acupuncture has even been effective in treating addicts experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Like any type of medical treatment, acupuncture is safe when performed by a certified acupuncturist. Some states require a person to have a license before they can perform acupuncture as a professional. Getting a license will require an acupuncturist to have a certain level of training as well as follow industry guidelines to maintain their license. There are still some states that do not require people to have a license before being paid to perform acupuncture procedures. A licensed provider will discard all of their needles after one use. They will know to use new sterile needles during every treatment.
The number of acupuncture treatments required is different for each person and will depend on their situation. There are people who experience tremendous relief from pain after an initial treatment. Some people have chronic conditions that require two treatments a week for an extended period of time. Each acupuncture treatment plan is individualized.
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