Acupuncture is a centuries-old practice that involves the insertion of needles in specific points on the body. The needles stimulate the nerves under the skin, sending a signal to the brain that releases pain-killing chemicals in your body called endorphins. It has been shown to relieve a wide range of ailments, including low back pain, muscle pain (such as from arthritis or shingles), migraines, nausea caused by chemotherapy and menstrual cramps. It has also been found to help with addictions, such as smoking and drug abuse.
The Ancient Art of Acupuncture: What You Need to Know
The needles are so small that they can barely be felt. The practitioner will wipe the area with alcohol or another disinfectant before inserting a few needles. Some people may experience slight pain or a tingling sensation when the needles are inserted, but these feelings are fleeting and are usually followed by a feeling of relaxation or energization. The needles are kept in place for about 15 to 45 minutes. During this time, the patient’s body temperature will lower, blood pressure and heart rate decrease, muscles relax and the mind enters a meditative state.
Acupuncture can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. It is generally safe, although there are some rare side effects such as mild soreness or bruising after treatment. The acupuncturist will check with you regularly to see if the treatment is effective and address any concerns you may have. The number of acupuncture sessions you will need depends on the type and severity of your condition, as well as your general health.