Before I begin, remember that I am not a medical professional and you should always speak with your own medical team before pursuing any treatments or medications. The statements and suggestions below are from my research on acupuncture and some of my own assessments. And I must thank Dr. Axe for his aid in my preparing this post.
This 3000 year old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice has many benefits that I would like to introduce to you.
I know that many do not think this process works, but I can assure you it has for me many times over the past 25 years. My very first experience was with a TCM doctor trained by the foremost authority in China back 30 years ago and I’ll tell you that she was GOOD. She has worked on many well known professional athletes over her years of working. For me, she worked on my rotator cuff, neck and back issues and basically cured them all at the time. Since then I’ve had my chiropractor and my physio therapist both work on my hip, and opposite shoulder rotator cuff issues. They have always provided relief to me.
Saying that, it is not an “instant fix” and takes a little while before you feel the effects as the effects are cumulative, but it’s a more natural way of healing than taking a lot of chemicals that will ultimately prove harmful in other respects within your body. It is relatively pain free – you might feel a slight “prick” when the needles are placed in their appropriate locations, but it’s very brief. The only time I’ve actually had any discomfort is when a nerve is hit and it only lasts maybe a second.
So, what are the benefits of acupuncture? Here are some for your consideration.
Acupuncture is currently used to treat – muscle spasms and pain, chronic back problems and pain, headaches (including reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines), neck pain, osteoarthritis, knee and hip pain, allergies, digestive issues, mood and depression. It’s thought that it could also help with postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, postoperative dental pain, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma. It can also be used on Parkinson’s Disease patients that have age-related cognitive decline symptoms. In the USA, a study of 20 Parkinson’s patients found that after 16 sessions, 85% reported subjective improvements of their individual symptoms, including tremor, walking, handwriting, slowness, pain, sleep, depression and anxiety – without adverse effects. Also because there is no “chemical medication” it can be used during and after pregnancy to help reduce stress, balance hormones, and ease the anxiety and pain of pregnancy and labour, mood, depression, and any mental or physical symptoms the mother may experience.
It is considered a very safe process as long as you are being treated by an experienced, well-trained practitioner who uses sterile needles. The needles used must be sterile, nontoxic, and labelled as single use only by qualified practitioners. There have been very few incidences of issues reported after having an acupuncture session using sterile needles. But some serious side effects have been reported when non-sterile needles have been used. I know my practitioners have always used one-time use needles that are then placed in “Sharps Containers” specifically for the disposal of needles.
I won’t go into all the acupuncture points, but will identify the major meridians that include: Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine, Urinary Bladder, Kidney, and Liver Meridians.
What can you expect when you visit for a session? You will first have a consult with the acupuncturist and talk about your pain and health related issues. They might look at your tongue and press on vital organs to see if there is anything there that could possibly be contributing to an imbalance. He/She will then, using small disposable sterile needles, place them along specific meridians on your body according to your specific issues. They will check your body for energy pulses to see how the energy is flowing. If redness occurs around a needle site it is usually thought to be a sign that the energy is not balanced in that area. The needles stay in for a short period of time (between 15-20 minutes) to help the energy re-balance itself. Once the needles are removed you can go about your usual activities, but make sure to drink plenty of water to help detoxify your body.
Pain control is usually the key component to anyone going for acupuncture, and anyone receiving “strategic” acupuncture have shown lasting relief after a session. The theory being that the needle prick stimulates the body’s system to begin the healing process and release endorphins which help inhibit pain. Those who take a lot of medications for pain may have desensitized themselves to that same medication which in turn makes the body need more and more. That in itself is very damaging to the body and actually increases inflammation as well as other side effects you don’t either need or want.
Acupuncture, in my mind, is a much better method of using the nerve systems and pathways in your body helping it heal and help you experience less pain. It’s a much better alternative for long-term benefits and has a low risk of side effects, making it a very viable treatment option.
Have a wonderful day and week ahead.