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If YES, continue your reading this Acupuncture training guide now and learn what is acupuncture how it works, benefits, types and etc.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a part of traditional Chinese medicine which relies on classical, pre-scientific theories about the nature of the universe and our place in it. It is a process of inserting very thin needles through a person’s skin at specific points on the body, to various depths.
An acupuncturist inserts the needles into a person’s body with the aim of balancing their energy which can help boost wellbeing and may cure some illnesses.
Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice. It entails stimulating certain body points and most often with a needle penetrating the skin in order to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.
The conditions where it is used to include different kinds of pain, such as headaches, blood pressure problems, and whooping cough, among others.
Benefits of Acupuncture Massage therapy
Acupuncture can be beneficial in that:
- Performed correctly, it is safe.
- There are very few side effects.
- It can be effectively combined with other treatments.
- It can control some types of pain.
- It may help patients for whom pain medications are not suitable.
Risks involved in Acupuncture Massage therapy
The risks of acupuncture massage therapy are quite low when you have a competent and certified acupuncture practitioner who uses sterile needles.
The common side effects of this acupressure massage therapy include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles were inserted.
Single-use, disposable needles are now the practice standard due to which the risk of infection is minimal. Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture and you may be at a risk of complications if:
- You have a bleeding disorder. The chances of bleeding or bruising from the needles increases if you have a bleeding disorder or if you’re taking blood thinners.
- You have a pacemaker. Because acupuncture involves applying mild electrical pulses to the needles can interfere with a pacemaker’s operation.
- You are pregnant. Because some types of acupuncture stimulate labor, which could result in a premature delivery.
- It is dangerous if a patient has a bleeding disorder or takes blood thinners.
- Bleeding, bruising, and soreness may occur at the insertion sites.
- Unsterilized needles may infect the patient.
- In rare cases, a needle may break and damage an internal organ.
- When inserted deeply into the chest or upper back, there is a risk of collapsed lung, but this is very rare.
Side effects of Acupuncture therapy
Acupuncture Massage Therapy has various side effects that include:
- Pain where the needles puncture the skin
- Bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
- Feeling sick
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Worsening of pre-existing symptoms
When is acupuncture treatment used?
- Repetitive strain conditions like tennis elbows and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Back pain and sciatica
- Dysmenorrhea and other gynecological conditions
- Post operative and chemotherapy nausea
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Patients undergoing recovery from addiction and substance abuse
How to choose an acupuncture doctor?
- Ask people for recommendations.
- Check the practitioner’s training and credentials. Most states consider non-physician acupuncturists who pass an exam conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
- Interview the practitioner. Ask what will be involved in the treatment, how likely it is to help your condition and how much it will cost you.
- Find out whether your insurance covers the treatment.
What you can expect after acupuncture therapy?
Each practitioner who performs acupuncture has a unique style, often blending aspects of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine.
To determine the most suitable type of acupuncture treatment your practitioner may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors, and lifestyle. He or she may also closely examine the following:
- The parts of your body that are painful
- The shape, coating, and color of your tongue
- The color of your face
- The strength, rhythm, and quality of the pulse in your wrist
This initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 60 minutes and subsequent appointments usually take about a half-hour.
A common treatment plan would typically involve one or two treatments a week for a single complaint. The number of treatments will depend on the severity of the condition. In general, it is advisable to receive six to eight treatments.
What happens during the procedure?
Acupuncture points are situated all over the body and sometimes the appropriate points are far removed from the area of your pain. Your acupuncture practitioner will fix the general site of the planned treatment and need to remove any clothing if any.
You lie on a padded table for the treatment and a gown, towel or sheet will be provided. Your treatment involves:
Needle insertion – It is the first stage in the Acupressure Massage therapy. Here in this stage Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at strategic points on your body. The needles are very thin, and this usually causes little discomfort while inserting.
Some people often don’t feel any discomfort while inserting. Usually, 5 to 20 needles are used in a typical treatment. A mild aching sensation might be felt when a needle reaches the correct depth.
Needle manipulation –As a part of treatment your practitioner may gently move or twirl the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.
Needle removal – In most cases, the needles are left to stay in the place of insertion for 10 to 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. You might not experience any discomfort when the needles are removed.
What happens after the acupuncture procedure?
Some people might feel relaxed and others might feel energized after an acupuncture treatment. You will not respond to acupuncture if your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks. In this case, acupuncture may not be right for you.
- The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure
- Many people find it helpful as a means to control a variety of painful conditions
- Several studies, however, indicate that some types of simulated acupuncture appear to work just as well as real acupuncture.
- Acupuncture works best in people who expect it to work.
- Acupuncture has few side effects
- It may be worth a try if you’re having trouble controlling pain with more-conventional methods.
Who may not be able to have acupuncture?
- People with bleeding disorders such as Haemophilia, or people taking medication to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants), may not be able to have acupuncture massage therapy because of the slight risk of bleeding.
- People with a blood disorder or are taking anticoagulants, talk to your GP before you have acupuncture.
- People who have a metal allergy or an infection in the area where needles may be inserted, Acupuncture is also not usually advised.
- Before treatment, your acupuncture practitioner should ask you about any underlying conditions you have or medication you are taking, as some of these may affect the treatment you can have.
- It is generally safe to have acupuncture when you are pregnant but let your acupuncture practitioner know that you are pregnant because there are certain acupuncture points cannot be used safely during pregnancy.
What will I experience during my acupuncture treatment?
Most people find their acupuncture treatments relaxing. Others may experience minimal discomfort. Adverse effects and complications are almost entirely absent. Acupuncture professionals consider sterile single-use needles so there is no risk of infection or transmission of disease.
Aching, heat and heaviness are often experienced during acupuncture treatment which is the “deQi effect.” For most patients these sensations are brief and for some others (0.5%) this sensation may last from 5 minutes to several hours. Your practitioner may not consider this an undesirable outcome while performing Acupuncture treatment.
- A study of more than 3000 acupuncture treatments has identified how often discomfort during or after treatment occurs:
- For 2.9% of patients, a small amount of bleeding appears at the needle site as this usually stops within minutes of the needle is removed. Bleeding is more likely in patients who take Aspirin or blood thinners. It is advised to let your practitioner know if you use these medications.
- 2% of patients (often the same people who experience bleeding) develop a small bruise at the needle site. This usually disappears within a few days.
- 4% experience fatigue
- 0% experience a brief feeling of dizziness that disappears during treatment
- 9% experience brief, low-level pain while the needle is in place or after the needle is removed and this sensation lasts for less than 5 minutes.
- Other sensations include tingling (0.5%); sweating (0.3%); nausea (0.1%). If any of these continues for more than two minutes then your practitioner will end your session and remove the needles.
- 1% of patients have fainted.
What are the Conditions Recommended for Acupuncture?
The following are the various conditions recommended for Acupuncture
- Acute sinusitis
- Acute rhinitis
- Common cold
- Acute tonsillitis
- Acute bronchitis
- Bronchial asthma
- Acute conjunctivitis
- Cataract (without complications)
- Central retinitis
Disorders of the Mouth Cavity
- Pain after tooth extraction
- Periarthritis humeroscapularis
- Tennis elbow
- Low back pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spasm of the esophagus and cardia
- Acute and chronic gastritis
- Gastric hyperacidity
- Chronic duodenal ulcer
- Acute and chronic colitis
- Acute bacterial dysentery
- Paralytic ileus
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Facial paralysis
- Paralysis after apoplectic fit
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Paralysis caused by poliomyelitis
- Meniere’s syndrome
- Neurogenic bladder dysfunction
- Nocturnal enuresis
- Intercostal neuralgia
What are the various conditions where Acupuncture has proven to be effective?
- High and low blood pressure
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Some gastric conditions, including peptic ulcer
- Painful periods
- Allergic rhinitis
- Facial pain
- Morning sickness
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tennis elbow
- Dental pain
- Reducing the risk of stroke
- Inducing labor
- Post-operative convalescence
- Substance, tobacco and alcohol dependence
- Spine pain
- Stiff neck
- Vascular dementia
- Whooping cough, or pertussis
- Tourette syndrome
When shouldn’t acupuncture be used?
- Infants and very young children
- Very weak or very elderly patients
- People with compromised immunity
- Patients suffering with certain bleeding disorders or severe blood loss
- Patients who are very weak, emaciated, who are suffering from low blood sugar, or who have collapsed due to fatigue and exhaustion
- Patients with significantly low blood pressure
- Patients who are suffering from extreme anxiety or who are very nervous about the needles
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes, it is highly unusual to have any complications because acupuncture is performed with disposable needles under clean and sterile conditions.
What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?
It is best to bring someone with you on your first acupuncture treatment so that you will have transportation home as Acupuncture has a very calming effect. After the treatment, you may feel overly relaxed and shouldn’t drive.
It is important not to overextend yourself, no matter how good you feel after the treatment. You have to take it easy for the first few days after the treatment and it is important to continue taking your prescribed medications.
How often should I have acupuncture treatments?
Acupuncture treatment sessions depend on each person’s condition and response to acupuncture. One acupuncture session does not usually result in relief of pain and requires one or two sessions a week for five to six weeks is the normal course of treatment.
Your Acupuncturist will discuss with you regarding the number of treatments you should have and how often you should have them.
What are the guidelines I need to follow in order to try acupuncture?
Don’t rely on acupuncture for treatment of chronic or serious illness and see for a physician first. Acupuncture is not the only way to improve your condition.
Your healthcare provider may recommend the acupuncture treatment along with other treatment methods such as physical therapy or medication. In addition, try acupuncture for at least five or 10 treatments sessions before giving up.
Will my insurance policy pay for acupuncture treatment?
Yes. Some insurance companies will pay for acupuncture treatment but the restrictions differ from one insurance provider to another insurance provider. However, it is best to consult with your provider to find out if your treatment will be covered.
What does Acupuncture feel like?
Acupuncture is usually a very comfortable treatment because the needles used are very fine, metallic and as thin as a hair, making them quite painless upon insertion.
Different patients experience acupuncture differently, but most of them feel no pain or very minimal pain when the needles are inserted. You may experience a mild aching sensation or warmth at the area of needle site.
What are the activities I need to avoid following acupuncture treatment?
Strenuous physical activities including exercise have to be avoided for at least two hours after the treatment.
A good feeling after acupuncture should not be mistaken as full recovery and make sure that you have regained your strength and stamina before engaging in any activities which you couldn’t perform before your acupuncture treatments.
Is it safe for babies, children, and teenagers?
Yes, many acupuncturists specialize in pediatric care because children and adolescents usually respond very well to acupuncture.
Can I still have acupuncture if I’m scared of needles?
Yes, Acupuncture needles are very much finer than the needles used for injections and blood tests and due to which you may not even feel them penetrate the skin and once in place they are hardly noticeable.
Acupuncturists use needles that do not break the skin and which can be inserted extremely lightly during the therapy.
What are the specific biological effects of Acupuncture?
- Acupuncture promotes the release of endorphins, which are pain-blocking biochemicals
- Acupuncture influences the cellular matrix of connective tissue
- Functional MRI studies have shown acupuncture to stimulate regions of the brain that correlate to the treated acupoints
- Acupuncture activates the parasympathetic nervous system to move the body into a balanced state known as homeostasis
What are the different styles of acupuncture?
The following are the different styles of Acupuncture
- Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
- Japanese Acupuncture
- Korean Hand Acupuncture
- Auricular Acupuncture
- Medical Acupuncture
- Veterinary Acupuncture
How can I be best prepared?
- Dress in comfortable clothes like yoga pants or sweatpants so that points may be easily accessed
- Use the restroom before your appointment
- Ideally, come hydrated, fed, and uncaffeinated
- Come prepared to tell as much of your medical history as possible.