What you need to know about acupuncture
Acupuncture is an alternative treatment which involves penetrating the skin with very thin metal needles in order to stimulate the central nervous system. These hair-thin, sterilised needles are inserted at certain ‘pressure points’, where they are left for a period of time ranging from a few minutes to half an hour. There is usually very mild, if any, pain experienced, with most users reporting either a dull ache or tingling sensation.
Although modern western acupuncture is derived from ancient Chinese medicine, the two forms follow different beliefs. Traditional Chinese medicine claims that acupuncture points are part of a connection of pathways around the body which create an energy flow referred to as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). The idea is that this flow of energy is responsible for our health and when it does not flow freely, illness can be caused. In western medicine, it is thought that by stimulating sensory nerves under the skin, acupuncture needles cause the body to release pain-relieving endorphins and other natural substances. These are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced by those who undergo treatment.
Acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of conditions, but the most common reasons people choose to visit a practitioner include pain (chronic or otherwise), fertility issues, stress and anxiety, insomnia, menopause, migraines, and immune boosting/general wellness. Patients have also experienced success using acupuncture as a therapy or aid for skin issues, rhinitis and allergies, weight loss, digestive issues, chronic nausea, and post-operation healing.
During an appointment for acupuncture, you can expect an initial assessment where the practitioner will ask questions about your general health, as well as any specific problems, and potentially carry out a physical examination. You’ll be asked to either lie or sit down for the treatment and you might need to remove certain items of clothing so that the acupuncturist can access different parts of your body. These sites will be chosen based on your own individual health issues and needs.
If you’re considering acupuncture, talk to your doctor first to find out if it’s suitable for you and never rely on an acupuncturist for a medical diagnosis. When searching "acupuncturist near me", it’s important to choose a qualified professional who has received the proper training needed to ensure safe practice. When searching with My Health Assistant, you can book accredited acupuncturists near you and feel confident going into your session. Whether it’s customer service or expertise in certain conditions, everyone will want something different from their acupuncturist so make sure to read their reviews and find the perfect practitioner for you.