The Ultimate Guide to Acupuncture Treatment, Risks & Benefits
How can inserting needles into the skin make someone feel good? It sounds scary and painful, doesn’t it? You might be surprised, but the answer to this is “no.” It’s certainly far from the most painful procedure that you can imagine. It has been studied and practiced for over 2500 years, which is indicative of its worth.
Many people around the world swear by acupuncture, calling it a miracle treatment that improves their standard of living. It has been reported to treat everything from anxiety and pain to nausea and cramps. According to research, millions of Australians use acupuncture for treating a multitude of health problems.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of several techniques used in physiotherapy, both in order to help with recovery and to improve the rehabilitation of the body. Essentially, it is used in conjunction with physiotherapy treatment for managing the effects of pain and inflammation by stimulating the healing chemicals of the body. This treatment involves the use of thin needles in the skin at specific target points. The needles used in this procedure are solid and are made of stainless steel. They are single use needles, discarded after each treatment session.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is used as a method to balance the energy flow or life force – recognized as “chi” or “qi” that is thought to flow in your body through 12 main routes (or meridians). “Chi” or “qi” can also be thought of as blood flow in and around the body. By inserting needles in specific points along these meridians, practitioners of acupuncture believe that your flow of energy (or blood flow) will re-balance and improve. These 12 meridians or energy streams have almost 350 acupuncture points in the body that can be accessed through the needles. This procedure is based on the presumption that the lack of flow of energy can cause health issues, which is why acupuncture techniques are used to solve these issues.
Western medicine has proven that this needling technique produces happy endorphins in the body – also known as natural pain killers, and can increase blood flow. In addition, studies have shown that acupuncture may alter brain chemistry by changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. These affect the parts of the central nervous system related to sensation and involuntary body functions, such as immune reactions and processes that regulate a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature. “Chi” or “qi” can therefore be thought of as blood flow because acupuncture has been shown to influence our circulatory and nervous systems. Following on from this, acupuncture therefore can have a calming effect, reduce pain and assist other health issues.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Acupuncture?
As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the following health conditions can be treated with acupuncture:
- Chemotherapy-induced sickness
- Digestion problems, including irritable bowel syndrome
- Gynecologic disorders
- Muscle Pain
- Dental pain
What Are the Risks of Acupuncture?
Just like any other therapy, acupuncture may have some negative side effects but a well-trained practitioner will do their utmost to avoid these. The most prevalent risk of acupuncture therapy is pain and bleeding that is caused by the insertion of needles.
Skin rashes, allergic reactions, bruising, discomfort, swelling, or infection may also be other adverse effects.
Therefore, a certified and well-trained practitioner must always be considered for performing acupuncture therapy as they use sterile, disposable needles to prevent the risks of serious health problems.
Acupuncture treatment is not suitable for every health condition. If you have any bleeding disorder or you take blood thinners, the treatment may increase the risks of bruising and severe bleeding.
What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture Treatment?
Acupuncture has been shown to be an efficient therapy for the stress of our hectic contemporary life and a range of other problems. Let’s have a look at the benefits of acupuncture treatment:
Reduces Body Pain and Fixes Bad Posture
Laptops, mobile phones, heavy weights at the gym, and awkward heavy lifting in our modern lifestyle can lead to bad posture and pain. Acupuncture helps to alleviate pain without medication and also decreases swelling and inflammation in the body. This can assist your physiotherapist with then correcting your bad posture and lifting techniques.
Helps in Reducing Headaches
For centuries, acupuncture has been used for treating migraines and chronic headaches. Research has demonstrated that acupuncture can reduce migraine pains and may have permanent benefits for migraine/headache sufferers.
Reduces Stress and Improves Mental Health
Acupuncture controls the pressure of stress hormones and mood swings in your brain to decrease anxiety and increase general emotions of happiness. According to a study, acupuncture may assist people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and mental conditions such as depression, especially when treated shortly after diagnosis.
Helps in Treating Insomnia
Regular acupuncture is an effective chronic insomnia therapy. Acupuncture can assist in soothing your mind and body to help you sleep at night. Many patients experience a better night’s sleep, usually right after the initial acupuncture session.
Improves Skin Health
Enthusiasts say facial acupuncture therapy can reduce wrinkles, tighten sagging facial muscles, and increase the collagen level of your skin. Basically, this therapy improves the overall appearance of the skin.
Gives Relief from Digestive Conditions
The connection between digestive health and wellness, in general, is widely accepted. Acupuncture can assist the digestive system’s efficiency which is useful in supporting IBS or gastrointestinal pain sufferers.
Helps in Gynecological Disorders
Acupuncture can benefit the most common endocrine disorder among reproductive-aged women – polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It works by increasing ovarian blood fluctuations, reducing the volume of ovarian cysts, and controlling insulin levels of the body.
A study has shown that acupuncture treatment can increase the effectiveness of many popular medicines that are taken to boost fertility by naturally maintaining the hormone level of the ovaries. This increases the chance of a successful pregnancy by as much as 33%.
Acupuncture can be worth a try if you have trouble managing pain or other health problems with conventional methods. But don’t forget to discuss it with your doctor first to check if it is right for you.
Looking for an Acupuncture Specialist?
It is important to get the acupuncture treatment from an accredited professional who has met the standards for acupuncture education and training. Marika Scicluna, from Body Mind Wellness Physiocare, is an accredited acupuncture physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Body Mind Wellness Physiocare is the best place to achieve your ultimate well-being as we offer the highest level of professional care that helps people stay fit, healthy, and happy.
To schedule an appointment, call now at (08) 8353 6233.