Would you volunteer to be pricked multiple times with sharp needles? The idea may sound crazy, but before you respond with a resounding no, you might want to take a few moments to peruse the lengthy list of conditions treated by acupuncture. This time-tested medical practice can be truly beneficial, and despite the fact that it involves needles, it does not hurt.
Considered a type of complementary medicine, acupuncture involves the strategic insertion of sterile needles. While acupuncturists probably hear plenty of punch lines involving porcupines and pincushions, the needles used for acupuncture are incredibly thin, so there is little or no pain when they are inserted into the skin. In fact, many people find acupuncture soothing; patients have been known to doze off while undergoing treatment.
Conditions Treated by Acupuncture
A form of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture has been used to promote healing for thousands of years, and when provided by a properly trained acupuncturist, it is considered a very safe medical therapy. Research suggests that it has the potential to assist people who are struggling with a wide range of health challenges, and many medical doctors are willing to suggest acupuncture as a treatment option when it is appropriate for the patient’s situation. What types of conditions do acupuncturists treat?
A skilled acupuncturist can be a wonderful ally if you are struggling with musculoskeletal pain. Acupuncture can be utilized to aid in the healing of common sports injuries like sprains and strains and repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Many patients also find that it allows them to better manage the discomfort of chronic pain conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, disk herniation, and ankylosing spondylitis.
The throbbing pain caused by tension headaches and migraines can make it impossible to complete even the simplest of tasks. For people who suffer from these often chronic problems, acupuncture offers the possibility of relief. Acupuncture treatments may reduce the severity of the pain and decrease the frequency of the attacks.
Side Effects of Cancer Treatments
The treatments used to combat cancer often have devastating side effects, and a number of cancer patients have found acupuncture helpful in managing them. Acupuncture may make it easier for cancer patients to tolerate these difficult treatments by helping to ease the nausea brought on by chemotherapy, relieving pain, boosting energy levels, and improving immune response.
It is not uncommon for people to be in pain after a surgical procedure. An experienced acupuncturist can utilize their skills to ease postoperative pain. This may allow the patient to reduce the amount of pain medications that they take and make their recovery more comfortable.
Female Reproductive Health
Among the conditions treated by acupuncture, you will find many issues related to female reproductive health. Painful menstrual cramps, troublesome PMS symptoms, and the discomforts that often accompany menopause generally respond well to acupuncture treatment. Individuals struggling with fertility issues and women who are pregnant may also benefit from acupuncture.
Gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause a great deal of discomfort. Acupuncture may ease this distress.
Acupuncture can be incredibly helpful for people dealing with respiratory problems. Asthmatics may find that treatments reduce the frequency and intensity of their asthma attacks. Individuals who battle chronic sinusitis may also discover that acupuncture supports their effort to manage their condition.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Numerous studies of the various conditions treated by acupuncture offer ample evidence that it works, but scientists are still trying to decipher the exact mechanisms that make acupuncture effective.
Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that energy known as “qi” flows throughout the human body in pathways called meridians. When blockages occur that disrupt this energy flow, poor health is the result. Under this philosophy, acupuncture heals by clearing away the blockages and rebalancing the body’s energy. While the details are still a source of debate, medical researchers tend to believe that acupuncture works by triggering the body’s natural healing powers. They suspect that stimulating specific acupressure points, also known as acupoints, prompts the body to react in ways that foster wellness.