What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic healthcare treatment that has been practiced for centuries in Chinese medicine where trained doctors stimulate certain points on the body by placing small needles on the skin. Today, acupuncture is one of the most popular practices of traditional Chinese medicine in the West. Acupuncture is a health approach that is developing more and more than 2500 years old.

Acupuncture is used in combination with holistic techniques such as herbal medicines, reflexology, massage therapy and various psychological and body treatments to treat a wide range of diseases, pains and stress-related symptoms. Acupuncture use has increased steadily in the last few years, Western countries. The question of whether acupuncture causes pain is often a matter of concern. Interestingly, despite the use of pointed needles in acupuncture, the administration is extremely painless.

What is Acupuncture Used for?

Acupuncture is generally used to treat the following conditions:

  • Reducing muscle pain and spasms,
  • To relieve chronic back and neck pain and other symptoms,
  • To treat head and neck deformities,
  • Fight osteoarthritis and inflammatory rheumatic problems,
  • Alleviating knee pain that is becoming chronic,
  • Eliminating allergic reactions,
  • Repairing digestive problems,
  • Used to solve problems such as mood disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Experts suggest that the use of medical needles in acupuncture practice is usually a safe procedure by an experienced and well-trained physician. The most important issue in this regard is to have an experienced and trained specialist in acupuncture treatment under all circumstances. Because a well-trained specialist is very careful about the use of clean needles and does not easily make mistakes in acupuncture points. Incorrectly performed acupuncture and non-sterile needles can pose a great risk.

With the new arrangements, acupuncture needles have been introduced as medical devices and the needles are labeled for non-toxic, sterile and only for single use by experienced specialists. To date, there have been few reported complications from the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture is therefore considered to be very low risk. However, this does not mean that there is no risk. This is because some fatal side effects may occur when using sterile and non-medical needles.

What are the Benefits of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture, which is one of the favorite applications of alternative medicine, brings incredible benefits. Particularly, the side effects are minimal and painless, making this application extremely popular. Now let’s examine closely what the benefits of acupuncture;

Acupuncture Helps Reduce Headache And Migraine Attacks

In an experiment involving 2,186 patients, experts concluded that acupuncture could be a valuable pharmacological tool in people with common chronicized tension-type headaches. This study looked at a number of clinical trials comparing the effects of acupuncture sessions with no treatment to relieve pain in migraine attacks. Specifically, groups with needles placed at random and strategic points indicated a significant reduction in headache symptoms.  However, they reported that there was a significant reduction in other types of headache types and their intense attacks in people followed up with continuous acupuncture.

Acupuncture Manages Chronic Pain, Including Neck, Back, Joint or Arthritis Pain

Acupuncture has proven to be very effective in improving chronic low back pain in a 2008 study in Germany. In patients with chronic low back pain, there was a significant difference in the reported pain between the groups of patients receiving acupuncture than those who did not receive treatment for more than 8 weeks. Even more impressive, acupuncture treats back, neck, arthritis, head and shoulder pain, four types of chronic pain. Experts reviewed clinical trials involving more than 20,000 patients and showed that patients receiving acupuncture treatment had less pain in lower back, neck, muscle pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headache than other patients in the control group. As a result, experts recommend that acupuncture is seriously effective in the treatment of chronic pain and that such patients should have regular acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture Helps Treat Insomnia

Again in 2014, a large meta-analysis was conducted showing that acupuncture has a very beneficial effect in reducing the symptoms of insomnia. According to the results of the analysis, the addition of acupuncture treatment to the patients receiving medication or herbal treatment to help sleep has better effects than taking the medication or plants used alone. Another benefit is that, unlike many sleeping medicines, acupuncture treatments have no adverse side effects.

Acupuncture Improves Cancer and Chemotherapy Symptoms

Different research, according to the Cancer Research Institute, shows that acupuncture can help greatly strengthen the immune system, reduce symptoms, and accelerate recovery after cancer treatments. For example, in a randomized trial, acupuncture treatment significantly increased the platelet count with the immune system and prevented a significant reduction in the overall body cells after radiation therapy or chemotherapy, compared to the time they did not receive acupuncture. Experts, both acupuncture treatment group patients experienced much less pain in the treatments, quality of life improvements and nausea, such as nausea experienced a significant reduction in different adverse side effects of chemotherapy, he said.

Acupuncture Prevents Cognitive Decline And Cures Psychological Problems

Experts have shown new information on the effectiveness of acupuncture on Parkinson’s disease. Studies show that it may alleviate the symptoms of cognitive decline due to age progression, as it causes a mental reaction especially in some parts of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease (such as thalamus and putamens).  In a study conducted in France, 30 Parkinson’s patients received acupuncture treatment for 10 sessions. In 90% of these patients, subjective symptoms such as tremors and slowness improved. It also treats psychological problems that affect cognitive function such as acupuncture, sleep, anxiety, stress, depression and nerve.

Acupuncture Hormones Balances, Supports Pregnancy And Postpartum Health

Many physicians today recommend acupuncture as a form of treatment to balance hormones, relieve stress, and alleviate pregnancy anxiety and pain. This method of treatment is considered a very safe procedure for many of the most common symptoms during pregnancy. Acupuncture therapy is required to alleviate the physical and emotional difficulties of the body, as well as to help with any mood, depression, stress, mental or physical symptoms that pregnant women may experience. This method can be used even before the baby is prepared for birth.

Important Information: There are some acupuncture points that should be avoided during pregnancy.  Therefore, physicians who are experts and experienced in the field should always be preferred.

Acupuncture can Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Acupuncture treatment is beneficial for those with polycyclic ovary syndrome, which is a very common endocrine problem in women of reproductive age, by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, reducing the number of cysts in the ovary volume, and repairing hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. However, its sensitivity reduces blood sugar, insulin and cortisol levels, and helps to lose weight and anorexia. Although more research is needed to know the true efficacy of this treatment, its effect on polycystic ovary syndrome is clear.

What are Acupuncture Points?

Acupuncture points are specific places on the body that are the focus of acupuncture treatments. Experts describe acupuncture as a technique to balance the flow of energy or life force, and think that energy can be achieved by stimulating small special channels in the body. Experts also believe that meridians, also known as qi or chi, are a flow in the body. Disease, insomnia, pain and fatigue can occur in the body when these meridians are not balanced. In acupuncture treatment, there are 14 main energy channel meridians with hundreds of points along each meridian where the needles are placed. These include 360 ​​different points on the hands, arms, feet, head, waist and main organs. The belief in acupuncture is that by placing needles lightly at certain points in the body, the meridian flow can be listened to and thus rebalancing the patients’ energy. Acupuncture points tend to be located at a point where the nerves enter into a muscle, the midpoint of the muscle, or the muscle joins the bone.

The main acupuncture meridians are:

  • Lung,
  • Large bowel,
  • Stomach,
  • Spleen,
  • Heart,
  • Small intestine,
  • Bladder,
  • Kidney and liver meridians.

How does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is generally regarded as a family of practice, not just a single approach to disease or pain management.  All acupuncture applications involve sudden stimulation of specific points in the body using different techniques and often needles. The most widely studied type of acupuncture in clinical, scientific research environments to date is the use of thin, solid metal needles to gently stimulate the skin.

Acupuncture is often done by hand, an experienced specialist carefully dips the needles into specific points in the body, not deep into the skin. In normal practice, about 10 to 20 fine needles are used at a time. These needles are small enough to fit into a normal-sized injection, which is also used to draw blood, making the treatment process very painless for many patients.

There are also acupuncture types that use light electrical impulses that pass through needles or do not use any needles at all. For example, needle-free acupuncture uses targeted massage-type techniques to stimulate the body’s energy by pressing specific points.

What is Done Before Acupuncture?

 First, the acupuncturist talks to the patient about their pain and health goals. They then usually look at the patient’s tongue and press the vital organs to see if there is anything that contributes to the imbalance. The specialist then uses sterile, disposable small needles and places them on the body along certain meridians.

The specialist will then place his or her fingers lightly on the patient to feel how the patient’s energy is flowing, or by placing his hand on the patient’s body to check for a pulse on the body. The redness that may occur may appear around a needle region and this side effect indicates that the energy in that region is a sign of unbalance. While the energy of the application balances itself, the needles usually remain in the areas for a short time. Once the needles have been removed, the patient can return to social activities, and it is generally recommended to drink plenty of water to aid the detoxification process.

Is Acupuncture a Viable Treatment Option?

Especially for chronic pain and the benefits listed above is a very important treatment method. Although more research is needed in other areas, the current studies show that the strategic placement of these needles provides significant health benefits. Patients receiving strategic acupuncture therapy achieve lasting relief. There are also theories suggesting that there are arousal in the system of the body, that the body should begin the healing process and secrete endorphins that prevent pain. Pain is a mutual sign that says something is wrong from brain to body, body to brain.

Most people with chronic pain become insensitive to pain medication because of the stagnant nature of the pain and the increased pain. Painkillers not only cause harm to the body, but also increase inflammation and also have other side effects that increase with prolonged use. Acupuncture is a promising solution for chronic pain patients experiencing high levels of pain and trauma. As with many natural therapies, including the new mind-mind body therapies, how the patient perceives the treatment and which methods are used affect the benefits.

What are the Side Effects of Acupuncture?

As with any practice, acupuncture may pose certain risks. The most common side effects are pain and bleeding from insertion of acupuncture needles. Other adverse effects may include skin rashes, allergic reactions, pain, bruising, bleeding, nausea, dizziness, fainting or infections.

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