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How Can Acupuncture Improve Your Health?

Updated on June 7, 2010

Acupuncture is often recommended as an alternative therapy, especially if conventional medicine does not have a positive effect. It can be used to treat a wide range of different illnesses and conditions, but it is predominantly a means of improving the general wellbeing of an individual. As well as treating your specific problem(s), acupuncture can benefit you in other ways. This can include improved sleep patterns and higher energy levels. 

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture involves fine needles being inserted into key energy channels in the body as a way of altering your general psyche. It is based on the idea that there is "qi" (motivating energy) present in our bodies, and this can be affected by factors such as stress, inadequate nutrition, your genetic make-up, infections and even the weather. Your body's natural balance can be regained through acupuncture as it can restore your equilibrium. In addition, it can encourage your body's healing defences.

What Can I Expect From Acupuncture?

Your initial consultation will involve a discussion to assess your current health situation and determine how best to treat you. Your therapist can get a good indication of how the "qi" is flowing in your body by examining some of your pulse points. This initial assessment is necessary to formulate the most effective treatment plan for your personal circumstances. 

Certain acupuncture points are used in relation to specific health problems, but these will not necessarily be the acupuncture points that are closest to the site of the problem. For example, acupuncture points in the hands and feet are often used in the treatment of headaches. There are over five hundred acupuncture points in the body, but only a small proportion of these will be useful for treating specific problems. In some cases, the needles may be removed after being inserted but it is common for them to remain in place for over thirty minutes. This depends on what you are receiving the treatment for and the overall effect that your therapist is trying to achieve with regards to your treatment. Four to six separate sessions will be enough for most people to notice a difference in their symptoms and general wellbeing, but it may take longer than this. 

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Studies have indicated that acupuncture is a safe procedure with relatively few side effects. As with any type of alternative medicine, you need to be receiving treatment from a qualified professional to ensure that this is the case. Reputable acupuncture therapists will sterilize all needles before they are used and dispose of them after use to reduce the risk of spreading infections. Make sure that your acupuncture therapist has certification from a reputable professional body before your treatment starts. 

Does It Hurt?

The needles used in acupuncture are much finer than the ones that are used to give injections and during blood tests. This means that they are a lot less likely to cause pain when they are inserted into the skin. Most people experience a dull aching or tingling sensation, but this is rarely painful. You may feel sick or notice bruising after receiving acupuncture treatment, but this should not last very long. 


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for writing a very interesting Hub


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