Acupuncture is one of several ancient Chinese medical procedures. It is believed to help relieve pain and treat diseases by restoring the normal flow of energy through the body.
A typical acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. The sterilised and disposable needles are so thin that most people feel nothing more than a slight tingling sensation when they are inserted.
The acupuncture points are mostly located along the meridian through which Qi flows. Acupuncture moves this energy by techniques of ascending, descending, reinforcing, reducing, warming and clearing to create the desired response.
Each treatment lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Heat stimulation and cupping may be used together with the needles in order to boost the efficacy of healing.
Benefits Of Acupuncture
Researchers have identified several physiological mechanisms to explain the effects of acupuncture.
Acupuncture stimulates electromagnetic signals in the body, which are relayed at a greater rate than normal. Some of these signals activate the flow of pain-killing biochemicals such as endorphins, while others mobilise immune system cells to specific sites that are injured or vulnerable to diseases.
It was found that placing needles at certain acupuncture points also activates opioids in the brain that relieve pain and promote sleep.
In addition, acupuncture also promotes the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that affect the organ systems in beneficial ways. Some of these chemicals help boost the immune system. Others help to regulate basic metabolic functions such as blood pressure, blood flow, body temperature and blood sugar levels.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number and frequency of treatments will vary from patient to patient depending on their health conditions. Some symptoms may be relieved after the first treatment, while others may take 10 to 20 treatments. In general, a disorder such as having an ongoing pain for many years requires two to three treatments a week for the first few weeks. Gradually, the frequency can be reduced to once or twice a month.