Should I Get Acupuncture?
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment that involves the insertion of thin needles into your skin to stimulate specific points on your body. Although its roots are in Chinese medicine, it’s also used in western medicine.
What is acupuncture used for?
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture therapy is believed to re-balance the energy flow that moves through pathways in your body.
In Western medicine, it’s often used to stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. These tiny “injuries” where the needles are inserted are believed to stimulate the body’s immune system and promote circulation, wound healing, and pain relief.
It’s often used to help ease acute chronic pain or discomfort in many places on the body, including the lower back, neck, and knees. Acupuncture has also been used to help with a wide variety of other issues, including depression, osteoarthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, respiratory disorders, labor pain, and nausea and vomiting after surgery or chemotherapy.
How does acupuncture work?
Your acupuncture practitioner will talk to you about your medical history and concerns. He or she will identify the specific points of your body that will be treated, which may not necessarily be located at the area of your pain.
The needles will then be placed into the designated places on your skin, and although you may feel a brief stinging sensation, you may not feel anything when the needle is inserted. When the needles are in place, you might feel a mild aching sensation. Your practitioner may also move or twirl the needles or move them in conjunction with heat or electrical pulses.
Acupuncture needles are often left in place for 5 to 20 minutes, although the amount of time may vary. Removing them usually causes no discomfort.
After your treatment, you may feel relaxed or energized. It usually takes several treatments to see sufficient results, with about 2 to 4 usually recommended for acute symptoms and perhaps 12 or more for chronic issues.
What are the benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture provides the following benefits:
- Safe if correctly performed by a qualified practitioner
- Associated with very few side effects
- Can be used in conjunction with other types of treatment
- Can be used to treat a wide variety of issues
- May be able to help patients reduce or eliminate the use of pain medication
Who makes a good candidate for acupuncture?
Acupuncture has the potential to help many people. However, it’s not recommended if you take certain medications, have a pacemaker (in case electrical impulses are used), have chronic skin problems, are at risk of infection, or are pregnant. Talk to your acupuncture practitioner about your medical history before receiving therapy so he or she knows about any issues that may affect your ability to get this type of treatment.
To find out whether you should get acupuncture, make an appointment today with Park Avenue Medical Professionals in the Upper East Side of NYC. Our multi-specialty group practice provides integrated medical and health care delivered by expert specialists who work together to help each patient.