When people get acupuncture for the first time, they will often admit to being nervous about the needles. Which isn’t surprising, they’re probably imagining a hypodermic or a sewing needle, when in actual fact, an acupuncture needle is about the thickness of a cat whisker. It’s extremely flexible and when you look at one up close and maybe even flick it with your finger, its harmless nature is revealed.
Harmless but not powerless. Those little needles, placed just so, all working together can accomplish amazing things. They can ease pain, calm an anxious mind, increase circulation, decrease inflammation, stimulate a sluggish bowel or slow an overactive one, and on and on the list goes.
I’m hesitant to compare acupuncture and sewing for fear of fanning the flames of needle fear, but they have some beautiful similarities. A row of tiny stitches can heal the hole in the toe of your favourite sock and make it stronger just as a few acupuncture needles correctly placed can mend your body’s pain. In both, something tiny and precise can be used to strengthen a weak portion of the whole.
Similes are fun! Here is another one: acupuncture is like DJ’ing. Huh? Well, both use needles to create cohesion. A DJ will use the turntable needle to line up the next song and create a seamless transition (hopefully), melding the two together. Similarly, an acupuncturist uses their needles to establish consistency; regular acupuncture treatments over time can nudge the body into a new, more balanced pattern, one that is free of pain. Like two perfectly synced songs, pain dissolves into pain-free, almost without the patient even noticing.
And why would they notice? Acupuncture needles are silicone coated for patient comfort and are extremely delicate. Did you know that you can fit forty of these little guys inside the opening of a hypodermic needle? Forty! So that gives you some perspective on whether or not to be nervous about acupuncture.
Our advice: don’t fear the needle. And if you still do, even after reading this post, just sing that phrase to yourself a few times. Here is some back-up musical inspiration to help out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUO_5EALZoM
Here is a quick run down of some of the syndromes and disorders acupuncture can benefit. Acupuncture is commonly known to treat pain and injury of all types: back injury, tennis elbow, migraines, sports injuries, knee pain and the like. However, acupuncture does more than just relieve pain. Acupuncture has been shown to also treat anxiety, women’s issues, weight loss/obesity, infertility and conception, as well as insomnia and digestive disorders. Even after listing all these disorders above, we still have only touched the tip of what acupuncture can be good for.Because acupuncture works on the somato-energetic level predominantly, it is safe and side-effects free. Acupuncture performed by a trained professional is also almost completely painless, though at times mildly uncomfortable.
As the ancient Chinese did not, as a rule, have a problem with obesity, acupuncture does not have any set method for treating weight control. However, as there is a large psychological element to weight control (cravings, etc.), acupuncture is often found to be very helpful with weight management. Acupuncture has been shown to relieve cravings, both for food and substances. Acupuncture is also a great stress reducer, as it stimulates the release of the body’s natural pain management chemicals, dopamine and seratonin. Although there is never a replacement for willpower, acupuncture can help the dedicated person manage their weight.
Acupuncture can also treat eye disorders, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), nearsightedness, and cataracts. Toothache and other forms of dental pain can be significantly reduced through acupuncture as well. Other facial disorders such as Bell’s palsy and facial paralysis can, if treated quickly after onset, be well treated by acupuncture. Studies have shown that getting acupuncture soon after a stroke can increase the rate and degree of recovery.
Acupuncture treats the whole person (not just the symptoms they are experiencing) on a physical, mental and emotional level. This means that treatment of physical problems also affects the way you feel about yourself. Therefore, emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression and mania may benefit from acupuncture.
Whatever your symptoms or disorder, it pays to educate yourself about different forms of effective therapy. Studies have shown that educated patients often have a greater degree of recovery and a better outlook overall.
I have terrible allergies and environmental sensitivities. I have heard that acupuncture can help with this, and wonder if anyone has had any success in this area? I would to love to hear someone’s personal experience with it. Thanks!
Using acupuncture before and during surgery significantly reduces the level of pain and the amount of potent painkillers needed by patients after the surgery is over, according to Duke University Medical Center anesthesiologists who combined data from 15 small randomized acupuncture clinical trials.
I’m considering getting acupuncture done for PMS and stress issues- how many sessions will be required for something like that?
Migraines are a debilitating form of headache, as any sufferer will tell you. Acupuncture can greatly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, with no side effects.
This is a great little introduction to acupuncture from the point of view of someone who had acupuncture during her pregnancy, along with a medical doctor’s comments about efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of ailments, including pain and pain management.
I’d like to know what people have had treated with acupuncture, and whether you found any success? How many treatments did you need for any one given complaint?
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