How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat various health problems. It is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and today it is also popular in the West. Studies have proved it successful in relieving pain, treating many health conditions and relieving symptoms in many illnesses.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the idea of qi: energy that moves in the body inside meridians (energy pathways). Blockages in the energy flow can cause illness and pain. Acupuncture tries to release these blockages and promote qi flow in the energy channels. It also stimulates the different internal organs and body systems such as the immune system, the nervous system and the digestive system and its organs. The idea is to encourage the body to heal itself and to make sure qi moves freely around the body.

An acupuncturist uses thin, long needles that are inserted at specific points along the energy channels. The needles are sterile single-use needles. The needle is only inserted to the top layer of the skin and most people hardly feel it; acupuncture treatments are painless and people sometimes describe the needle insertion as similar to a mosquito bite. The needles are then left on the skin for 10 to 30 minutes, although some treatments can last longer. Some acupuncturists use heat therapy called moxibustion; heat is added to the needles to stimulate the healing effect.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture treatments are used to relieve pain, to help recovery from injuries and to release muscle spasms. Many patients have found relief from headaches and migraines. Acupuncture is also used successfully to treat many respiratory conditions such as colds, coughs and other infections, sinusitis and asthma as well as allergic conditions. Acupuncture treatments are very successful in relieving stress and insomnia. Acupuncture is also used in digestive conditions, immune system disorders and hormonal imbalances.

In many cases the patient feels relief from symptoms already after one treatment. Usually a course of treatments is required to get the best possible results. Acupuncturists can also recommend herbal remedies to take at home.

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