While the practice of acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, many people are still new to this form of ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a practice that involves inserting small needles directly into a person’s body in an effort to open up certain passageways and balance their energy.
In fact, acupuncture relies entirely on this energy. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that health comes down to the balance between the two energy extremes in the body the “yin” and the “yang.” They also believe that there is a life force flowing through the body known as “qi.” Illness happens when there is an imbalance of these major forces and when qi is no longer able to flow freely through the body.
If you have been considering acupuncture, perhaps from a recommendation from a friend or family member, or because you have read about the effectiveness of this practice before, you may have some questions. Here is a basic overview of what you can expect from acupuncture and what this Chinese healing treatment can offer.
Qi, or the energy life force that flows through the body, go throughout the system thanks to the more than 350 meridians or pathways that connect our entire system. The flow of the qi and where it is going in the body is very important and makes a great deal of impact on your overall health.
Acupuncturists can control the flow of the qi by sticking small (relatively painless) needles at certain points in the body to alter that flow through the proper meridians.
While sticking dozens of needles in your body may seem like a very painful (and not a very fun) process, these needles are relatively painless as they are tiny. While they vary in size, most of these needles are extremely thin and only about an inch long. Some larger areas do require longer or larger needles.
Your acupuncturist should always dispose of their needles when they are done to prevent any transmission of fluids or disease.
The needles themselves are placed strategically on the body during your treatment. Depending on the pathway that your acupuncturist is looking to open up, the needles may be right under the skin or deep into the muscle. While these needles do not produce the “pricking” sensation that many people feel, they can deliver a dull ache in the area they are stuck in, depending on what they are treating.
These needles are left in the body for several minutes, even up to a half-hour until the acupuncturist comes and removes them.
There are many different things that acupuncture can treat. The most common reason that people go to visit an acupuncturist is for pain. However, many believe that acupuncture can do even more than just treat for half-hour and that it can help boost wellbeing, stimulate the immune system, and cure different illnesses.
The most common reasons people go to see an acupuncturist are for treatment of headaches, joint, and back pain. However, there are many who use acupuncture to treat everything from the common cold to high blood pressure and everything in between.
While acupuncture is based on the principle that it helps control qi and helps promote positive energy flow and balance throughout the body—many people use acupuncture for pain and because of the neurological studies behind it. There has been a great deal of research on acupuncture and on why it works. These acupuncture points can stimulate the nervous system and release chemicals that go throughout the brain, spinal cord, and different muscles. These chemicals can help lessen the feeling of pain or release other hormones and chemicals that can help stimulate healing and pain relief.
Here are some of the most common issues that acupuncturists will claim to treat:
– Muscle aches
– Digestive disorders
– Sore throats
– Respiratory diseases
– Reproductive issues
– Menstrual pain
– Urinary problems
– Facial ticks
– Neck pain
– Back pain
– And more.
Acupuncturists also offer preventative services that can ward off illnesses and do general wellness treatments as well.
One of the great things about acupuncture and one of the many reasons that so many people give this form of Chinese medicine a try is because it typically comes with little to no side effects. While some people can experience changes in appetite, sleep, or feel hormonal with the first treatment, this generally happens because new hormones and chemicals are flowing through the body following stimulation. Most of these feelings typically subside with time.
Acupuncture sessions can vary in length, depending on what you are treating and how many needles the acupuncturist needs to place. They can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Obviously, a lot of your session length has to do with what you are treating and what type of methods your acupuncturist is planning on using.
However, with the first session, you should always expect the treatment to last longer as your practitioner will want to get some background information on your health and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Most acupuncturists will then do a physical exam before getting started.
The placing of the needles is an integral part of every session, and depending on what you are having treated, there will be a different number of needles placed in the body. Some sessions will require only a handful of needles, or you may need 20, 30, or 40 needles in your session.
While most practitioners will leave the needles in for at least some time—your acupuncturist will likely also stimulate the needles with different methods. Manual stimulation is most common and will involve your acupuncturist moving and twisting the needles. Other acupuncturists use heat or low-frequency electrical energy to stimulate the needles. Typically, the needles are in for about 15 minutes.
Therese are all factors that can cause your session to be shorter or longer. Some people experience benefits on their first treatment; it is most common to start seeing changes after three.
It is important to note that most acupuncturists will tell you that you won’t see results right away. While there are always cases where people will feel instant relief—most times, to truly treat an illness, injury or condition, you will need several results (typically between 6-8), so there is no need to feel discouraged if you don’t see results right away.
Remember, every person is different, and every person will react to acupuncture treatment (especially their first acupuncture treatment) differently.
If you are dealing with neck pain, back pain or whiplash issues following a car accident, then acupuncture may be a viable treatment option to help you safely and naturally get out of pain and get back to feeling like yourself. Acupuncture can help diminish inflammation and swelling and help get the pain under control, especially if you are dealing with pain all over the body following an injury like this.
Some people who also find the treatments help with any stress, anxiety, PTSD, or other emotional issues they may be experiencing following a traumatic car accident.
If you feel as though acupuncture may be part of your ideal treatment plan following an injury, many acupuncturists specialize specifically in this type of primary management and treatment. They work in multi-specialty clinics, along with other medical specialists, like orthopedic doctors, neurologists, pain management doctors, physiatrists and chiropractors to get you back to health after a car accident.
The good news is, PIP and No-Fault Car Insurance typically covers acupuncture treatment. Just make sure that you call ahead to any acupuncturist’s office to let them know why you are coming in for treatment and let them know about your desire for personal injury insurance to cover your treatment from your car accident injuries. They will be able to work with your insurance and help get you on a plan that will lead you on the road to recovery.
When it comes to trying out any new form of medical treatment, it is always best to be fully informed and aware of what you expect before you get started. Hopefully, this guide helped to answer some of your questions about acupuncture and what it may be able to do for you.
For thousands of years, this ancient, natural practice has helped many people from all walks of life to find healing and relief—and it may be able to help you as well. The good news is, there are professional acupuncturists all over the country.
To learn more about acupuncture or to find an experienced acupuncturist in your area, call 1-800-897-8440.
Start taking advantage of the unique benefits that this form of treatment has to offer!
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