Acupuncture is a professional medical system that has been continuously practiced in China for at least 2500 years. In Western countries, acupuncture is rapidly becoming more popular.
What is Acupuncture good for?
According to the World Health Organization the following ailments and conditions generally respond well to acupuncture:
- Acute muscle strains
- Acute joint sprains
- Acute & chronic neck & back pain
- Irregular menstruation, painful menstruation
- Constipation & diarrhea
- Post-stroke paralysis
- Addictions - overeating, smoking & drug dependence
This is not a definitive list though - there are many other acupuncture benefits and many patients obtain very good results with disorders like asthma and depression.
What happens during a treatment?
Initially the doctor will ask about your complaint, such as how long you've had the problem, your current symptoms, your health history, your diet, your sleeping habits and bowel movements and other information that may seem irrelevant to you. An examination will be performed on you as well. Remember that acupuncture is part of a holistic medical system that recognizes the link between body, mind and emotions. Your physical ailment may well have an emotional component too.
Depending on your problem you will lie on the treatment table face down, or on your back, or on one side. Usually 10- 20 acupuncture points are selected. The most common points are on your arms below your elbows, on your legs below your knees and along either side of your spine from your neck to your sacrum. Each point is swabbed with alcohol before the needle is inserted.
Generally, the needles are left in place for about 20 minutes. A common acupuncture benefit is that it's usually very relaxing- all you have to do is lie still and it's quite common for people to fall asleep during their treatment.
Does acupuncture hurt?
If you've never had acupuncture this is an obvious question to ask. However acupuncture needles are very fine and usually you will just feel a sensation like a mosquito bite as the needle is inserted. The sensation does vary depending on where the needles are inserted but very few people say acupuncture hurts. They are usually more concerned about whether acupuncture will work for them and whether the needles are clean (we only use single use disposable needles).
How often will I need acupuncture?
Acupuncture is generally administered in courses of 7-10 treatments at a frequency of 1-3 treatments per week.
How many treatments will I need?
Overall treatment time is dependent on many factors such as the nature and severity of your complaint, how long you've had it, your age, your general health, your lifestyle and how much you are willing to do to assist the healing process. Each of us is a unique individual and response to treatment may vary.
How much does acupuncture cost?
A basic acupuncture treatment is $52.00. Additional expenses may include examination, x-rays (if indicated), and the cost of nutritional supplements. Acupuncture is frequently done in conjunction with chiropractic care which will factor into the cost of treatment. A few private health insurances cover acupuncture.