Acupuncture is a therapy that was developed as a system of medicine over 2,500 years ago, though some speculate that rudimentary practices of acupuncture were developed as long ago as 6000 BCE. Acupuncture uses very small filiform needles or non-penetrating tools to stimulate points around the body in order to stimulate sensory receptors and activate the neurological, physiological, and physical systems of the body. It acts on these systems to support and promote the body's inherent ability to heal and balance itself.
Does it hurt?
Everybody experiences it differently, but acupuncture should not hurt. Upon stimulation of a point, whether with needles or non-invasive tools, the receiver may experience sensations such as tingling, warmth, pulsing, or slight pressure. There is always a risk in contacting nerves, vessels, and vital organs, which may cause sharp or electrical pain that may continue for a number of days, but years of training and supervised practice go into making sure this doesn't happen.
What can acupuncture treat?
A lot! Acupuncture is a very effective treatment for a large number of ailments and complications of disease and illness. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective for treating body pain as well as many emotional, mental, gastrointestinal, hormonal, respiratory, circulatory, and neurological disorders and diseases. It has also been used effectively alongside drug treatment programs to fight substance addiction, and can help relieve side effects of and reduce the need for pharmaceuticals.
Will Acupuncture help with my condition?
Acupuncture can not reset your broken bone, but it can certainly help to speed the recovery of a break once the bone is properly set and casted. Whatever ails you, your practitioner will be able to determine through a thorough intake of health history and lifestyle whether acupuncture will be an appropriate course of treatment for you. Many factors are considered when approaching disease, illness, and pain with acupuncture, and the practitioner will often recommend concurrent therapies and lifestyle changes to compliment the acupuncture treatments in order to attain optimum results.
How long are the treatments?
Some styles of acupuncture use methods with very brief needle retention, as short as 1-5 minutes. Combined with other modalities, a whole treatment can last for as long as an hour. Traditionally, needles may be left in for an average of time anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments varies from case to case, and the biggest defining factor is the state and severity of the ailment that is troubling you. In any case, you may see results after the first treatment, although these results may not last more than a few days. With acute conditions, lasting effects of weekly acupuncture are often seen after as little as 6-8 weeks, at which point you may be able to reduce your visits to monthly treatments for preservation of health. With more severe and chronic conditions, it may take 8-16 weeks (or longer if symptoms are very severe, and have possibly been ignored) to see lasting results of treatment. As with most therapies, the effects of acupuncture are accumulative, and the results will be much more significant if the treatments are closer together.
What can I expect from my first treatment?
Most people experience a sense of extreme relaxation and tranquility. Acupuncture often causes a significant endorphin release, giving you a feeling of floating on the ground or walking on air, so it is important to take a short amount of time after a treatment before going to work or performing any strenuous mental or physical activity, like operating machinery, working out, or doing your taxes, for example.
Does it work?
Yes! Multiple studies have shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment for a large number of ailments. I have personally seen people make leaps and bounds in their recoveries from illness and injury once they introduced acupuncture into their treatment regiment. There is a reason acupuncture has been used for millennia without being altered or diluted; because it works.
Even if I don't believe in it?
Acupuncture works, whether you believe in it or not. Veterinary acupuncture is a good example of how effective acupuncture can be, as it has been shown to help many animals, including dogs, cats, and horses, to recover from illness and injury. These animals certainly aren't "believers" in acupuncture, but their results are significant all the same. Of course, faith in your practitioner will promote feelings of well-being and relaxation before, during, and after your treatment.