Acupuncture - The Healing Therapy
Acupuncture is a healing therapy that uses insertion and manipulation of
needles to relieve pain or cure illness. With origins in China, it is
now practiced and taught throughout the world. While many medical
studies have failed to reduce the controversy surrounding this type of
treatment, scientific research continues to attempt to prove or disprove
its health benefits and medicinal merit. Enjoy your read.
Acupuncturists traditionally use inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiry, and palpation as methods of diagnosis. Inspection concentrates on the face and tongue, while auscultation and olfaction include whole body analysis. Inquiries may include whether the patient feels chills, fever, perspiration, hunger, thirst, adequate taste, defecation habits, pain level, sleep, menses and leucorrhea. Palpation involves searching for tender body points and inspection of the right and left radial pulses.
Tools used include disposable stainless steel needles of varying diameter. Much smaller than conventional injection needles, the size and type used depend on the type of acupuncture being practiced and form of treatment being delivered. Other variations of technique include warming by moxibustion, different insertion depths, manipulations while inserted, and removal. Be sure to discuss your expectations and ask any questions you may have in order to achieve the optimal treatment modality for your unique situation. Common treatment plans involve six to twelve procedures over a few months in order to tackle a single complaint. Many patients often require maintenance follow-up over the years.
A typical session includes insertion of five to twenty needles at varying depths, gentle movement or twirling of the needles after they have been placed, application of heat or a mild electric pulse, and removal of the needles after 15 to 30 minutes. Insertion and removal of the needles usually causes no sensation or physical discomfort. The patient is instructed to lie still and relax during the procedure and may feel a deep, aching sensation as the needle reaches the correct depth.
Due to the invasive nature of the procedure, acupuncture is not without risks or adverse side effects. While injuries are rare among well-trained specialists, some adverse effects may include bruising, bleeding, infection, dizziness, fainting, nausea, paresthesia, or even increase in pain. These risks are reduced with proper training and use of sterilized disposable needles. Improper insertion of needles may lead to nerve injury, brain damage, stroke, pneumothorax, or hemopericardium. As such, it is important to thoroughly research the credentials and training of your acupuncturist.
Patients that should avoid acupuncture include anyone with a bleeding disorder, pacemaker, or women who are pregnant.
Results should be expected within a few weeks of the procedure. If you do not experience relief, then this type of therapy may not be adequate for your particular complaint. Common alternatives to acupuncture therapy include herbal medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid injections. Consult an acupuncturist in your area today to determine your specific treatment needs and options.
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