There is a common perception of acupuncture: many people simply think it hurts and doesn’t work.
What is acupuncture? It’s the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points of the body, called acupuncture points. By placing the needles in these points, acupuncturists intend to tap into the body’s energy system, called Qi, and correct its imbalances, which are thought to be the root of health issues or reduced mental or bodily functioning.
When you hear ‘acupuncture,’ the first thing most people think of is needles, but there’s more to it than just placing the needles on the body.
The methodological approach of acupuncture is evident during most appointments. As you answer questions about your medical history and overall health, you’ll begin to appreciate that acupuncture isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment; rather, it seeks to address the needs of individual patients.
Your acupuncturist might determine that your particular imbalance has resulted in a decreased energy level, a diagnosis that determines the placement of the needles throughout your body. After all the needles are painlessly in place, lights are dimmed, and you can close your eyes and listen to a recording of guided meditation, recommended over the option of music. This phase of the treatment typically lasts 20-40 minutes.
What does acupuncture treat? It has many uses and is particularly effective in addressing women’s health issues. Already widely known as a fertility treatment, acupuncture also treats menstrual disorders, morning sickness, and menopause. It’s also an option worth exploring for individuals suffering from chronic pain or migraines, problems with tightness, and correcting posture, and can even assist those dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression.
Acupuncture may also improve one’s looks. Cosmetic acupuncture is used to treat skin disorders, as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
Why acupuncture? While it’s important to explore different treatment options, acupuncture does have several intrinsic benefits. It’s low cost, it’s now a more accepted and available treatment and it’s a gentler approach to address symptoms. Its affordability at $140 for an initial consult and treatment, as well as its lack of side effects, makes acupuncture a relatively low-risk endeavor to improve one’s health.
Acupuncture treatments are also more comprehensive than most Western alternatives. Acupuncture seeks to treat the body as a whole, rather than as an isolated problem. Chinese medicine isn’t about treatment, it’s about keeping one healthy and happy to keep the body functioning and prevent illness. Acupuncture is, at its core, a preventive practice and can be used simply to promote wellness in healthy people.
Is it effective? According to some experts, 99 percent of patients are happier and healthier after undergoing acupuncture treatments.
Slowly gaining acceptance in the U.S., acupuncture, often classified as ‘alternative healthcare,’ has yet to be universally recognized as a valid form of healthcare. However, more doctors are hearing very positive results from their patients and agree that acupuncture can offer positive results.
That said, acupuncture and Chinese medicine aren’t meant to replace Western healthcare, but to complement it. They refer to this as walking on two legs in China: Why just hop on one leg when we can walk on two?