A branch of Chinese traditional medicine, acupuncture employs the use of specialised needles that stimulate different parts of the body. Sometimes heat or manual stimulation is added to the technique to improve results. Let’s take a look at what it entails, what you can expect from acupuncture treatment and does acupuncture work.
What Is Acupuncture?
During an acupuncture session, your therapist will insert acupuncture needles into parts of your body. This is done following a consultation session where you describe your symptoms and the practitioner makes a diagnosis. The acupuncture needles are inserted into meridians or energy channels in your body.
How Effective Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture treatment has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2500 years and has a large following. Scientific studies and research into its efficacy has so far produced a mixed bag of results, which seem to be inconclusive.
It is widely considered to be a complementary treatment, and a second or third option for patients who may have exhausted other treatments and not been successful at treating certain conditions.
Sar far the evidence suggests acupuncture is beneficial in the treatment of migraines and osteoarthritis in the knees.
Of course, the best approach to adopt is to go on referral or word of mouth, and to do the research to see how successful the treatment has been at managing your ailment. Ensuring that strict hygiene protocols are followed, and that needles are sterilised and single use instruments can minimise your chances of adverse reaction.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
If you look closely at the insertion of acupuncture needles you can see that the needles are inserted into the pores in your skin. The needles are also different to injection needles, and are more blunt than those used to draw blood or give you a shot. And, while the needle does pierce the skin, it is not very painful, more of a discomfort can be expected.
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is considered generally safe, but like most things does carry some element of risk. The risks and side effects of acupuncture tend to be mild and rarely present problems. Some of them include
- Bruising and tenderness at the site
- Bleeding may occur if the practitioner does not insert the needles correctly
- Infection at the site, typically only really occurs if the needles are not inserted smoothly
- Damage to nerves and organ punctures only really occur when a practitioner is inexperienced.
- Allergic reactions, especially where herbs are burnt over the skin.
What Can You Expect From The Procedure?
Many patients report feelings of well being and relaxation after a treatment session, but of course this is person-specific. Some patients report that a session makes them feel tired or drowsy, and in some cases it is quite possible for symptoms to worsen before they improve.
If you have never experienced traditional Chinese medicine techniques it’s a good idea to approach it with an open mind, remembering that you may require more than one treatment session.
If you have specific questions about how effective acupuncture is or whether it can work for your condition it’s best to speak to a practitioner. Please contact us for an appointment: (03) 9008 1923.