Acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of conditions from chronic pain, to digestive problems, depression, and nausea.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for at least 28 conditions (with evidence of possible therapeutic value for many others).
Acupuncture has been effectively applied in the treatment of:
- chronic back pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- neck pain and stiffness
- tension headaches
- peripheral joint osteoarthritis
- arthritis and bursitis
- digestive disorders
- skin conditions
- smoking cessation
- chronic sinusitis
Acupuncture is extremely safe, for most people and has very few or no side effects. It is a very effective combination treatment to work with other physical therapy treatments.
People on blood thinners should not have acupuncture.
What Happens in an Acupuncture Treatment?
Most acupuncture sessions last about 30 to 60 minutes. Your acupuncture visit will include an exam and an assessment of your overall health, the needle insertion treatment, and advice on self-care.
During the treatment you will be asked to lie down, either face-up, face-down or on your side, depending on where the treatment is to be applied. Single-use disposable sterile needles are inserted one by one by the acupuncturist.
During acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts many very thin needles through your skin at specific points of the body to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and restore the body’s balance by improving energy flow and function. For most people the procedure is painless, or produces only mild sensation.
Typically patients will feel the needles but with little or no pain, at least initially. An aching sensation is sometimes reported when the needle reaches the right depth. Sometimes the needles are heated or stimulated with electricity after insertion. Once inserted, the needles are left in place for a short period of time (about twenty minutes) while you relax and let the treatment do its work.
Other acupuncture-related treatments may also be applied including acupressure, heat application, and electrical stimulation.
An acupuncture treatment course typically involves several weekly or biweekly treatments for up to 12 sessions.