Other conditions acupuncture may help include:
- It can help alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy treatments
- It can reduce nausea during pregnancy
- Auto immune diseases
- It can help reduce cold and flu symptoms
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Menopausal hot flashes
Are there different types of acupuncture?
Acupuncturists who follow more traditional/ancient Chinese principles focus exclusively on directing the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”), or energy, through the body. Some practitioners apply other modalities in their treatment such as cupping, electrical stimulation, guasha and trigger point therapy to ease myofascial pain.
When muscles are stressed, strained or injured, they often form trigger points-tight, painful knots. A trigger point in one muscle can create pain in a different area of the body known as referred pain.
How does acupuncture work?
Chinese medicine calls the energy that flows through the body qi. Chinese medicine practitioners believe qi disruptions create imbalances in the body’s energy that lead to illness.
Some forms of acupuncture aim to rebalance qi with sterile-needles that touch acupuncture points throughout the body. There are hundreds of acupoints in the body along 14 major meridians, also called energy-carrying channels.
The needles stimulate the body’s existing systems to:
- React to an illness or symptom.
- Rebalance the body.
- Release natural chemicals, such as endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and neurotransmitters, chemicals that control nerve impulses.
What happens during an acupuncture treatment?
During the first appointment, the acupuncturist will talk to you about your condition. Then the provider will examine your body for areas that will react to acupuncture. The acupuncturist will tap the needles into points into your skin throughout the body.
The needles are sterile, disposable and as thin as a human hair. An acupuncturist inserts needles at various depths, from a fraction of an inch to a couple of inches. The needles stay in for a few minutes or as long as 30 minutes.
What does acupuncture feel like?
You may feel a small prick with each needle. It’s less painful than the feeling when you get a vaccine or blood draw. Acupuncture needles are much thinner than medical needles, and they are solid, not hollow.
The needles may cause some muscle sensations, such as dull ache or tingling. Your practitioner will ask you to report when you feel a deep heaviness or numbness. Those sensations usually mean the treatment is working.
Is acupuncture safe?
When a qualified professional performs acupuncture, it has very few complications or side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles. The agency requires that all needles be steel, solid, sterile, nontoxic and properly labeled. Only qualified professionals may use acupuncture needles. After one use, practitioners discards them in a sharp’s container.
What happens after an acupuncture treatment?
Acupuncture has a calming effect, so you may want to get a ride home from your appointments, especially the first one. If that’s not possible, try to rest for five to 10 minutes before you drive. Your practitioner may suggest that you take it easy for a day or two after each session.
How often should I get treatments?
The number of treatments depends on your condition, its severity and how your body responds. Most patients have an appointment once a week. Others get treatment more or less often, depending on how long the effects last. Your acupuncturist will recommend a schedule that is right for you.
Will I need any other treatments besides acupuncture?
Do not use acupuncture to delay seeing a medical healthcare provider about a health problem. In most cases, people use acupuncture along with other treatments. For example, someone with chronic pain will likely take prescribed medications and also get acupuncture.
You should continue taking your prescribed medications unless the medical practitioner who prescribed them says otherwise.
Will my insurance policy cover acupuncture treatment?
Some insurance companies cover acupuncture, but others do not. And there may be limits on the number of treatments that are covered. Talk to our billing specialists to obtain details on what your insurance company covers.