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What is acupuncture?
by TeenHelp October 5th 2017, 02:50 AM

What is acupuncture?
By Cassie (Cassado)

Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine that was developed centuries ago. Acupuncture is thought to reduce the intensity and frequency of issues such as nausea, chronic pain, or mental health conditions like anxiety. According to Live Science, acupuncture is, ďa complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.Ē This article will talk about the different aspects of using acupuncture for treatment.

How does acupuncture work?

As Live Science said, acupuncture helps people struggling with a variety of issues through stimulating different parts of the body. To do this, small needles are inserted into the points that are being worked on. Originally it was thought that issues were caused by a problem with energy flow within the body, and the needle stimulation helped restore the flow.

While that is still a belief for some, new research has different reasoning. One is that certain nerves send messages to the brain when stimulated, causing the brain to release neural hormones. This can eliminate pain and negative emotions. A second idea is that stimulating nerves in the body helps reduce protein, thus relieving pain and inflammation. New research also suggests that some nerves make the brain reduce a growth factor, helping with regeneration specifically in cancer patients.

Needles that are inserted are very tiny and pliable and do not often hurt. However, they sometimes hurt if they are being inserted into an area that has tension. For example, an anxious person may feel pain when a point known to help anxiety is first stimulated with the needle.

There are a wide variety of points depending on what someone is being treated with. For instance, anxiety points can be found on the wrists or ears, or feet. A person looking to be treated for a certain ailment can do research to see if they can find the parts of their body that would be worked on.

What is an appointment like?

An initial acupuncture appointment may entail doing a little bit of paperwork and speaking to an acupuncturist about what needs to be treated. The acupuncturist could ask for a family or medical history.

A typical appointment can include updating the acupuncturist on the status of the ailment. Depending on where the points are, a patient may have to roll up their pants or sleeves or remove their clothes and wear a gown. Patients can lie on their backs or stomachs while being treated. If the needles are in an isolated area, patients can sometimes sit up as well.

After the needles are inserted, patients lie there for a few minutes. Some acupuncturists play meditation music to keep the patientís mind calm. When necessary, the acupuncturist will return to the room and gently turn the needles while they are still in the patientís body.

After the treatment is over, the needles are removed and the points are checked to see if they are bleeding. If they are, they are cleaned. The needles are thrown away after they are used. Sometimes an acupressure seed is applied so the person can use acupressure after the session. Acupressure is when soft pressure is applied to the points for a similar effect. For example, a person receiving acupuncture on their ears for anxiety may have a seed placed on their ears for later use.

Possible side effects

Though acupuncture is relatively safe when practiced by a good acupuncturist, there are some side effects.

During treatment, needles can slowly push themselves out. This occurs when the body rejects or has a strong reaction to the treatment and it is not a cause for concern.

Some people may experience bleeding after the needles have been removed from the skin. It is thought that this happens because the body is releasing excess energy. For instance, the body may be releasing pent up anxiety a patient has been feeling.

Sensitivity or bruising at the needle site is also a possibility. Bruising or sensitivity are not generally a cause of concern, however. Some people are more sensitive than others.

Patients may experience fatigue after a session. It is thought that this happens because the person and the body can release a lot of pent up emotions or energy during an acupuncture session. For this reason, patients may also feel a little more emotional afterwards.

Some people also experience headaches after acupuncture, but the cause for them is unclear. It could be related to things the person is going through or the position their body was in during the session. For example, a person prone to headaches may feel ill after laying on their back for an extended period of time. Headaches can also be caused by receiving treatment on an empty stomach.

Tips for receiving acupuncture

If possible, someone should schedule a session when the rest of their day is not super busy. Some people feel tired after a session and it is important to get time to rest.

People receiving acupuncture may benefit from wearing loose fitting clothes. Wearing t-shirts or loose fitting pants such as sweat pants or yoga pants can help make certain points on the body more accessible. This can be especially helpful for people who do not like wearing a medical gown.

Listen to something or deep breathe. Sometimes it is difficult for people to be alone with their thoughts while being unable to move. Patients may benefit from listening to music, whether it is meditation music or a favorite radio channel. Deep breathing can be calming as well.

Do not move unless instructed to. When patients move, the needles can move as well. This can be dangerous depending on where the needles are inserted.

Avoid going to a session on an empty stomach. For some, laying down or being stimulated with the needles on an empty stomach can cause discomfort.

People receiving acupuncture should try to stay patient when possible. The positive results of acupuncture can be slow and gradual. Many people do not see results themselves, but the effects are noticed by people around them. This could be because people cannot see themselves from the same perspective as other people can.

Practice acupressure outside of sessions. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture but it is done without needles. It is performed by putting a little pressure on the desired points. Using acupressure between sessions can increase relief.

Additional thoughts

The variety of stimulation points available with acupuncture makes it something that could be worthwhile to a lot of people regardless of what they are struggling with. Though some of the positive effects are gradual, they can make a world of difference over time.

Sources

What is Acupuncture?|Does Acupuncture Work?
https://www.livescience.com/29494-acupuncture.html

Acupressure for Instant Anxiety Relief
http://www.finebalanceacupuncture.co...nxiety-relief/
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