What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic method that usually involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles. Modern medical practitioners developed medical acupuncture as an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture. Instead of relying on inexact metaphors to describe the body's responses to treatment, we employ current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, all in keeping with evidence-based medicine.
What Are Some Specific Benefits?
Research on acupuncture is continually building and strengthening the scientific and evidence-informed basis of medical acupuncture. In addition to its well-known effects on acute and chronic pain, medical acupuncture addresses a wide range of medical issues, including:
~ Digestive ailments, including inflammation and motility problems
~ Respiratory issues, such as sinusitis and recurrent infections
~ Neurologic problems such as peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, spinal cord injury, disk disease, and nerve based pain problems
~ Musculoskeletal complaints, including knee pain, osteoarthritis, tendonitis, back pain, neck pain and much more
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The main therapeutic effects of needling begin with activation of nerve fibers near a point. These stimuli then bring about changes that help to balance nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity from the "periphery" (i.e. the acupuncture point) to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and autonomic nervous system centers (that govern processes like glandular activity, immune status, digestion, mood and more). Acupuncture also releases tension from the muscles and enveloping fibrous network called "fascia".
How Many Treatments Will Be Needed?
The number of treatments needed differs from patient to patient. For difficult or long-standing conditions, he or she may need one or two treatments weekly for several weeks. Usually, however, one sees a change in the patient within the first few treatments if the acupuncture is going to make a meaningful difference.
What Side Effects Might There Be?
Uncommonly, an acupuncture patient could experience a temporary worsening of the condition. Usually, however, most side effects are mild and even pleasant - a sense of relaxation, and improvement in sleep, or improvement in digestive tract transit. If something concerns you, contact the patient's doctor right away.