Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can do wonders for certain medical conditions. A thin needle is inserted along specific body points that run through the body's life force pathways. These meridians are where the body's energy or life force flow, and the insertion of the needles rebalance the flow of energy to accomplish healing goals.
Acupuncture can be thought of as "scary," though it need not be. Once the practice of acupuncture is better understood, people become more accepting of the procedure and find that their pain and discomfort can be better tolerated with these treatments.
Here are 10 things most people don't know or realize about the practice of acupuncture:
1. Acupuncture is recognized for treating at least 28 different conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of 28 conditions, though that number may be much higher in actuality. Some of the conditions that WHO recognizes as treatable with acupuncture include hypertension, depression, and headache.
2. There are 350 acupuncture points on the body.
The body's life force is known as chi. Qi is the energy that flows along the body's pathways, and this energy flow can be accessed in 350 different spots. This many accessible points of entry allow acupuncture to work on specific body areas to relieve many varieties of conditions.
3. Acupuncture is related to neuroscience.
The needles that are inserted at the body's energy points can stimulate nerves, muscles and tissue, which in turn stimulates blood flow to enable the body's natural painkillers to be turned on, releasing endorphins and opioids, to relieve pain and aid with other ailments.
4. Utilizing acupuncture before and after surgery lessens pain and nausea.
Because of the efficacy of acupuncture to relieve pain and prevent nausea, fewer narcotic painkillers can be used when this Chinese medical treatment is employed during surgical procedures.
5. Acupuncture can also be useful for animals!
Veterinarians have been known to use acupuncture along with traditional therapies to treat pain and strengthen immune systems. A horse at The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech was successfully treated with acupuncture for an ankle infection, for example.
6. Pregnant women may benefit from acupuncture therapy.
The treatment can be very helpful in alleviating the indigestion that often accompanies pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy sometimes cause heartburn, stomach maladies and reflux. For severe cases, women can turn to acupuncture instead of resorting to medications, which may harm the fetus.
7. Acupuncture gained popularity in the United States in 1972.
Back when Richard Nixon was President of the US, he traveled to China. A New York Times reporter, James Reston, traveled with the President. Mr. Reston ended up required emergency surgery to remove his appendix in China. He received acupuncture to aid in his post-operative pain relief and wrote about how well it worked upon his return to America. This inspired many more Americans to try acupuncture over the years.
8. More than half of Americans who have employer-sponsored health benefits are covered for acupuncture treatments.
Health insurance companies recognize the benefits of acupuncture, and over 50% of health plans include benefit payments for receiving this type of treatment. Insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Oxford, and United Health Care often cover these treatments, among other companies.
9. Acupuncture needles are so thin; they are not really painful.
Patients will feel a pinch upon insertion of these fine needles, but there is no major pain involved with acupuncture. The needles are inserted only less than half an inch into the skin. Thousands of years ago, when acupuncture was introduced in China, the needles were of materials such as bone, bamboo or even stone. These initial acupuncture tools were not used to pierce the skin, but rather to place pressure upon the acupuncture points. Modern-day needles are made of stainless steel that are very fine. In fact, they are about the width of two human strands of hair! The needles are sterile, come pre-packaged and disposable, so infection is not an issue either.
10. Acupuncture is an alternative to traditional medical procedures.
Acupuncture is a wonderful alternative to traditional medical procedures to help with nausea, especially useful during radiation treatments for cancer, for instance. This medical technique has not been around for thousands of years for nothing! Acupuncture works well for many people and many conditions. It is becoming more and more accepted in American and Western society in general.
Robert Vena is a top NJ Acupuncturist. Visit his website to learn more about acupuncture treatments.