Acupuncture practice involves inserting very thin needles into the body as a complementary therapy. To treat different health problems, practitioners insert needles at different depths and locations.
Pain can be relieved, and a variety of other complaints can be treated with acupuncture. The exact mechanism by which it works is not known. While some people believe it works by balancing vital energy, others believe it has a neurological effect.
If you live in the UK, then you can search online by typing your city/town name. For example, acupuncture Dover.
What Is Acupuncture Done For?
There are several conditions for which acupuncture may be beneficial, including:
- Inflammation of the joints is the hallmark of arthritis
- Long-term pain
- Sleep problems called insomnia
- An intense headache often accompanied by other symptoms is known as a migraine
- Sinus congestion or nasal stuffiness
- Having difficulty getting pregnant is infertility
- Skin appearance
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Health arises from a harmonious balance between the complementary extremes of yin and yang, or Qi, pronounced “chi.” Imbalances in these forces are thought to cause illness.
Human meridians, or pathways, are said to carry Qi, according to TCM. Through 361 acupuncture points on the body, these meridians and energy flows can be accessed. Injecting needles into these points in appropriate combinations will restore balance to the energy flow.
Numerous acupuncture points are located at sites where stimulation can affect the activity of multiple sensory neurons, according to a 2017 review. This phenomenon is also called receptive field stimulation.
Injecting needles at these sites may affect the central nervous system and muscles and increase blood flow to certain parts of the body.
Researchers found that acupuncture can provide pain relief that is distinguishable from placebo in a meta-analysis of its benefits on chronic pain published in 2018. However, the exact mechanism by which acupuncture works remains unclear.
Health Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture can have varying health benefits for different individuals. Before you see any benefits from acupuncture, you may need several sessions.
In spite of limited research on the health benefits of acupuncture, some studies have shown that acupuncture can be helpful for specific conditions.
1. Low Back Pain
Among non-drug treatments for lower back pain, acupuncture helped reduce pain and improve back function right after treatments. However, the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment was not clear over the long term.
Six months of migraine research revealed the following:
- Compared to those not receiving any acupuncture, 41% of those in the study reported a halving in the frequency of migraine symptoms.
- As far as migraine prevention medications are concerned, acupuncture is about as effective.
3. Knee Pain
According to research that looked at multiple studies, acupuncture could help individuals with knee osteoarthritis improve their physical function over the short and long term. Osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown of the connective tissue in the knees. Those with knee osteoarthritis were also able to reduce their knee pain with acupuncture, but only on a short-term basis.
Another review of multiple studies concluded that acupuncture delayed and reduced the use of pain medications in those who underwent knee replacement surgery.
4. Tension Headaches
For people with frequent headaches or pressure, also called tension headaches, acupuncture may provide relief after at least six sessions. Comparing those given only pain medication and acupuncture, this study also found that those receiving acupuncture had fewer headaches.
5. Facial Elasticity
Acupuncture used for cosmetic purposes is also known as facial acupuncture, which treats skin conditions on the face, head, and neck. An acupuncture study found that more than half of the participants showed an improvement in skin elasticity, which helps to make skin look plump.
Side Effects of Acupuncture:
Serious side effects are less common, such as blood vessel and nerve injury, complications from needle breaks, organ injury, as well as brain and spinal cord injuries. However, it should be noted that acupuncture complications can be fatal.
An acupuncturist should always use sterile, disposable needles to minimize the risk of side effects.
There may be side effects associated with acupuncture, as with any treatment. Among these are:
- There was pain and bleeding from the needle insertion
- Skin rash
- Allergic reaction
- In the area where needles were inserted, there is bruising
How Long is the Session of Acupuncture:
A typical acupuncture session lasts between 30 minutes and an hour, and the needles are typically inserted for about 20 minutes. While the needles are inserted, some people may feel some pain or pressure, while others may feel different sensations.
There is no exact science behind acupuncture; however, theories suggest that it releases endorphins and affects the autonomic nervous system.
There are a variety of concerns that can benefit from acupuncture, including some mental health disorders, pain, inflammatory conditions, stress, and skin appearance. Please keep in mind that acupuncture can have mild or severe side effects for some people.