Acupuncture is an ancient, alternative Chinese medicine that is rapidly growing in popularity among Western countries. Theoretically, acupuncture works by correcting imbalances in the body’s flow of Chi.
Derived from Latin acus’ (translating to needle) + ‘punctura’ (meaning to puncture) acupuncture involves puncturing the skin throughout the body on special areas called “acupuncture points”. Releasing Chi from acupuncture points allegedly relieves everything from headaches and cancer to chronic pain and Alzheimer’s, however scientific studies have struggled to find health benefits beyond the Placebo Effect. Whether you believe in the effectiveness of acupuncture or not, you need to ask yourself “Is acupuncture right for me?”
You will want to consider the following criteria before you start an acupuncture regime.
First and foremost, consult with your medical doctor before beginning any sort of alternative medicine treatment to make sure that it won’t have an adverse interaction with any other treatments your doctor or specialist has recommended.
Acupuncture is relatively harmless when practiced by a well-trained acupuncturist with sterile, single-use needles and clean technique. Unfortunately, it is still the art of pushing needles through your skin mild to moderate discomfort is unavoidable.
One of the biggest risks with acupuncture is bacterial infection, so make sure the acupuncturist you chose uses new, single-use needles in a sterile and clean environment to help negate this risk.
Any health benefits that you may experience from an acupuncture treatment will be short term benefits. This means that you can’t expect one session to cure your ailments forever. Remember that it’s a treatment, not a cure.
Science has shown that acupuncture’s biggest benefit comes from the Placebo Effect. Essentially, the Placebo Effect occurs when you experience health benefits solely because you believe that whatever you’re doing is healing you. What does this have to do with deciding to go through with acupuncture? If you don’t believe that acupuncture will help, it’s not going to help.
If all of that has put you off acupuncture, but you’re still interested in traditional Chinese medicine, you can check out acupressure! Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture but like the name implies pressure is applied to points on the body, no needles required, making acupressure a noninvasive procedure that is also free from the risk of bacterial infection.
Acupuncture isn’t for everyone, despite its recent rise to popularity. If you don’t enjoy needles penetrating dozens of points on your body, and don’t already believe it will help, this traditional medicine isn’t for you and alternatives, such as acupressure, may be more appropriate.
- The benefits of Acupuncture