Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain. Increasingly, it is being used for overall wellness, including stress management.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as chi or qi (chee) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including:
-Chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting
-Dental pain
-Headaches, including tension headaches and migraine
-Low back pain
-Neck pain
-Menstrual cramps
-Respiratory disorders, such as allergic rhinitis
No special preparation is required before acupuncture treatment.
This initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 60 minutes. Subsequent appointments usually take about a half-hour. A typical treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve one or two treatments a week. For acute pain, often, one treatment is sufficient.
During the procedure
Acupuncture points are situated in all areas of the body. Sometimes the appropriate points are far away from your pain area. Dr. Hong Davis will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the procedure, which involves:
Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are inserted into various depths at strategic points on your body. The needles are very thin, so insertion usually causes little discomfort. People often don’t feel them inserted at all. Between five and 100 needles are used in a typical treatment. You may feel a mild aching sensation when a needle reaches the correct depth.
Needle manipulation. Dr. Hong Davis gently moves or twirls the needles after the placement of the needles.
Needle removal. In most cases, the needles remain in place for 30 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed.
After the procedure
Some people feel relaxed, and others feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. But not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.
The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it helpful as a means to control a variety of painful conditions.
Acupuncture has few side effects, so it may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with more-conventional methods.