Using Acupuncture To Reduce Pain In Your Life
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medication technique that has been around for centuries.
Acupuncture practitioners insert thin needles through the skin to stimulate specific points on the body called acupuncture points.
The theory involved is to regulate the flow of Qi (life force) along the pathways know as meridians.
Acupuncture is used as a treatment for various diseases by acupuncture practitioners. In modern times, acupuncture has been shown to alleviate pain that was not able to be treated with painkillers.
It is also said to be able to cure the pain that exists in the body by treating the root cause.
There are no side effects associated with acupuncture when performed correctly. This is important for patients who experienced side effects caused by over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) and narcotics.
The growing reliance on painkillers may be one of the factors that patients are seeking alternative treatments such as acupuncture.
Although there are several research showing the benefits of acupuncture, it is important to discuss with your family doctor before attempting any alternative treatment.
Different people respond differently to acupuncture. If acupuncture has not helped in resolving your pain for several weeks, acupuncture might not be the right treatment.
What is the History of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture comes from two Latin words namely “acus” which means needle in English and “pungere” which means prick.
Its history originated in China more than 2000 years ago and has evolved into various forms.
Some of the techniques of acupuncture do not even use needles anymore. Vibrating objects, ultrasound and even the fingers of the practitioner have taken some of the work to make the person feel better.
The history of acupuncture is first discussed in an ancient Chinese medical text called the “Huang Di Nei Jing” or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.
But there have been a few who are the skeptics like the archaeologists who have found a 5,000-year-old mummy in the Alps with similar acupuncture points in the body.
This gives some people the idea that it was used even before the Chinese did but sine there is no written text to prove that, no one is certain and credit to this ancient practice goes back to the Chinese.
In the 6th century, this knowledge moved to Japan. In the 17th century, a man by the name of Waichi Sugiyama wanted to make this procedure painless for the patient.
He developed the insertion tube, a small cylindrical tube through which the needle is inserted. Believe it or not, this technique is still being used today.
But acupuncture only reached the US in the early 80’s with the establishment of a regulatory board called the National Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
As a result, various schools have been built and those who want to become licensed acupuncturists are now able to practice their profession.
Despite of that, there were a lot of people who are not yet convinced on the positive effects of alternative forms of medication.
It was only in 1995 that the US Food and Drug Administration decided to classify the needles used for acupuncture as medical instruments and assured the public that they are both safe and effective.
To further promote acupuncture, the NIH or National Institute of Health in 1997 has stated that this technique is very useful in treating various health conditions.
These include ear, nose, throat, respiratory, gastrointestinal, eye, nervous system and muscular disorders. In some cases, acupuncture is able to prevent some of them from happening.
This was further strengthened by the fact that the side effects of acupuncture are much less than that of conventional drugs that are being sold by pharmaceutical companies.
So that people can avail of acupuncture, another recommendation by the NIH is for US companies to provide full coverage for certain conditions.
If you do not quality, perhaps there is partial coverage which you should look up in your policy.
But despite that, more research needs to be done to see its effects on other health related problems. Some examples of these include addictions, autism, chronic low back pain, migraines and osteoarthritis of the knee.
If you look at the history of acupuncture, not much has changed since the needle technique used back then is still being used today.
Even if various forms have developed through the years, one thing for sure is that it works.
In order for you to see how effective it is, you have to see a specialist who is not only qualified to treat your condition but also one is well trained.
The Energy of Acupuncture
When it comes to acupuncture, you will find that there are basic concepts that you have to understand in order to learn the entire process known as “qi”. Qi happens to the energy of the body.
Anything negative that your body may go through, like disease or illness, is because your Qi is disrupted.
When it comes to the stimulation that you will get from Acupuncture, you will find that there are needles that are placed in specific points of the body so that the Qi flow can be affected.
An acupuncturist is someone who uses the use of the needles to heal or unblock your qi flow. The concepts of the qi is difficult for most beginners, but it can be broken into easily understand concepts that you can learn one at a time.
First, it is important to note there are five main types of qi energy: Qi, Jing, Xue, Jin Ye, and Shen. Qi can be roughly translated to “matter-energy.”
It causes the movements in the universe, but it is a vital part of your own good health. Some equate the Qi to the soul. Jing can be most closely translated to “essence” in the English language, but there are no exact words in Western terms that mean Jing.
When it come to Jing, it is something that is inherited like DNA and then we are able to create out own by eating certain foods and through the air that we breathe.
Jing, then can be somewhat called “health,” since we genetically receive some health predisposition, but also affect your own health and the health of your children with your lifestyle choices.
Literally meaning blood, Xue is the liquid that flows in the blood and through the Qi or energy of the body. The health of the two is dependent on one another. Jin Ye is also a tangible idea—bodily fluids.
These include saliva, milk, tears, genital secretions, sweat, stomach fluids, and other liquids of the body. Finally, Shen is simply just the spirit of the body. Traditionally, your spirit is located in your heart.
Acupuncture is a way that you can treat the energies and to help create a healthy body.
The energies are important since that help us develop body heat, defend illness, grow and develop, control the body’s blood and organs, transform, and break down the body’s metabolism.
If you get acupuncture done on a regular basis, then you will be able to turn all of your negativity in your Qi to be released.
Types of Acupuncture
There are different types of acupuncture. Whichever you decide to use, they are designed to do the same thing and that is to relieve pain or treat certain diseases.
The first is called TCM based acupuncture.
Here, it uses eight principles of complementary opposites to create harmony in the body. These include yin/yang, internal/external, excess/deficiency, hot/cold.
Next is called French energetic acupuncture.
This is often used by MD acupuncturists. Meridian patterns are emphasized here particularly the yin-yang pairs of primary meridians.
Korean hand acupuncture is another.
The practitioners believe that the hands and feet have concentrations of qi, and that applying acupuncture needles to these areas is effective for the entire body.
There is also auricular acupuncture.
It is believed that the ear is a microcosm of the body. This means that acupuncture needles are placed on certain points on the ear so it can treat certain addiction disorders.
Myofascially-based acupuncture is often utilized by physical therapists.
It involves feeling the meridian lines in search of tender points before applying needles as this is where abnormal energy flows.
Japanese styles of acupuncture referred to as “meridian therapy,” tend to put more emphasis on needling technique and feeling meridians in diagnosis.
Impulses of electromagnetic energy can also be used as the body generates tiny but electrical discharges which influence the function, growth, and maturity of certain types of cells.
By inserting the needles in these areas, it stimulates and alters the neurotransmitters in the body thus making the patient feel better after treatment. This is also sometimes used for diagnosis and testing.
There are also other forms of acupuncture that do not use needles. For instance, there is sonopuncture that uses an ultrasound device that transmits sound waves to points in the body to treat a patient. Some practitioners use a tuning fork or other vibration devices.
Acupressure is another. Here, the professional will use their hands to relieve the pain. This can be used on its own or with other manual healing techniques.
The number of treatments you will need depends on the patient’s condition.
On average this could be from 10 to 5 treatments and 2 to 3 times a week. How much it will cost also varies as this could be from $40 to $150.
Some insurance companies and HMO’s now cover that or partially so you should check if this is included in your policy.
Anyone can try acupuncture to relieve pain or prevent one but many practitioners decline to see someone during pregnancy. But if you have already started, it is generally safe to do so until the infant is born.
Some acupuncturists may ask you to take in some herbs as part of the treatment.
Since you have no idea what it can do, have this checked first by your local doctor to make sure this is safe as this could interact with the drugs you are taking causing side effects.
Which type of acupuncture should you try? That is up to you. All of them are effective so discuss this with your doctor and do some research so you know what you are getting yourself into.
Each of these is painless so just relax and let the professional do the rest.
Just like conventional medicine, don’t expect an improvement overnight as this takes time so just keep an open mind.
What are some Myths About Acupuncture?
There are a lot of myths with regards to acupuncture. Some of these are true; others are silly while the rest only have a half truth. As you read on, you will learn which ones are worth believing.
The first myth is that acupuncture is painful.
This is not true because those who have tried it claimed they only experienced a tiny prick while others did not feel anything at all.
There is no tissue damage when the needle is inserted into the skin or pulled out and only in very rare cases there are traces of bruising.
The second myth is that you can get hepatitis or AIDS from acupuncture.
This is true only if the needles used are not sterilized. In the US, this will never happen because acupuncturists are required to use disposable needles thus you are not at risk from these two diseases.
Third, acupuncture is used to treat pain.
This is only a half-truth because this holistic technique has been proven to do other things such as stop a person’s addiction, lose weight and prevent certain illnesses.
Fourth, there are some who think that Asians are the only ones that can practice acupuncture.
Since 1982, there are already 50 schools all across the country that teach students about this technique and become licensed acupuncturists.
This means that anyone who has the desire to learn about this ancient practice can do so and help treat patients. Just to give you an idea, there are at least 3,000 acupuncturists now working in the US.
Fifth, medical doctors do not believe in the potential of alternative medicine.
This is not true because there are more doctors these days that are open to the idea that there are other ways to help patients aside from conventional medicine.
In fact, some of them even recommend an acupuncturist if they know that what they have done is not effective.
Another myth is that every patient will undergo the four needle technique.
This is not true and it will only be used when the specialist feels that the energy of the patient is virtually not moving as a last resort.
The seventh myth is that it is better for a medical doctor to perform acupuncture.
This is wrong because the training is much different than that taught in medical school. Students who have an acupuncturist license train for 3,000 hours before they are allowed to practice this profession.
Between an acupuncturist and a medical doctor, you should go with someone who has learned about this much longer.
The eighth myth is that acupuncture is only used in third world countries.
This is not true because this technique originated in China more than 2000 years ago and this has spread to developed nations in Asia such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.
In the United States, acupuncture been practiced for more than 2 decades and is legal in 30 states. In fact 22 of them, license professionals after they graduate once they pass the state board examination.
Although acupuncture has been around for a very long time, there is still a need for this form of holistic healthcare which is why this is being taught in colleges and in use today.
It is painless and cost-efficient and a lot of studies have shown that it is effective in treating various illnesses and preventing some of them.