What exactly IS it?
Very thin needles are placed in specific spots, called meridians, on the body. The purpose of it is to influence the body’s energy flow. The Chinese, where acupuncture was originated, call this energy chi (pronounced “chee”). And by manipulating the chi, certain benefits may be recognized.
According to the Chinese, illness happens when the chi is disrupted. The needles, sometimes with mild electric current connected, supposedly correct the chi, and alleviate the pain, or condition causing a problem. This helps the body heal itself.
History of acupuncture:
It’s been around a while, but is being rediscovered to some degree. It dates back around 2,500 years in ancient China. And it’s part of Chinese medicine. Doctors who practice Chinese medicine also depend on various Chinese herbs to compliment the acupuncture benefits, in many cases.
What can acupuncture help?
- Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel issues, nausea and vomiting (such as with chemotherapy).
- Pain associated with injuries, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.
- Neurological issues, including migraines, Parkinson’s Disease, and MS. It also helps with stroke rehabilitation.
- Addiction problems.
- Fertility problems.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Emotional disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- And more.
Two problems I personally had remedied by acupuncture were malabsorption; as well as scar tissue and inflammation caused by a broken arm up in my shoulder. It proved to be enormously beneficial in both issues.
What’s it like?
The needles will be placed in the skin, at various depths, depending on your condition, and may or may not have electric currents added. The needles are so thin, that they don’t hurt—though they CAN be felt. And they are left in, usually for anywhere around 5-20 minutes. But it can be longer if needed.
The number of appointments varies, but for both my conditions it was 12. I went twice a week for six weeks. It might be less or more, depending on your condition, but that’s average.
Any side effects?
If you choose to go to a “fly by night” acupuncturist, who hasn’t been schooled adequately, you could get an infection—if needles aren’t sterile.
Also, if you have a bleeding disorder, or are on prescription drugs to thin your blood, always check with your doctor before trying acupuncture.
Who to trust as a qualified acupuncturist?
A qualified, certified practitioner is the only acupuncturist to consider. And even better is an oriental medicine doctor (O.M.D.) who has even more training in acupuncture at a good school for oriental medicine. Also, that way you can be assured of clean, used only once, needles. The licensing organization for qualified M.D.s who perform acupuncture is the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture in El Segundo, CA. Of course, you can get recommendations.
I went to Chestnut Wellness Center in Springfield, Missouri. I highly recommend Dr. McDonnell, if you live anywhere in the area. If not, ask around, and/or visit the above website.
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