What to expect from acupuncture treatment

imagesAre you still dealing with that old injury from high school? Has residual pain, stiffness, redness and swelling become a part of your daily routine?

You have heard about acupuncture treatment and how people experience good results. Now you want to give it a try, but you’re still asking is it all voodoo?

After all the thought of someone sticking pins in you, it sounds like something from a late night horror movie.

You’ll be happy to know acupuncture is an accredited science with practitioners in all 50 states and around the world. It is also the leading form of alternative medicine in the Orient.

Practitioners in the United States are licensed. In most cases, major medical plans provide acupuncture benefits as part of their covered services.

You should know, the needles are quite small, not much bigger than a human hair, and all procedures follow clean needle practices in a sterilized environment. And no, the needles don’t hurt.

Acupuncture licenses include completion of a three to four year program at an accredited acupuncture school.  Followed by several years of industry work in the basic sciences and biology.

Upon completion of the program, national testing needs to be met in order for the practitioner to be judged as competent to practice.

Although as strange as it must seem, acupuncture is a separate school of healing that is apart from western medicine. It is one of 13 schools or philosophies of healing in the world. Complete with its own axioms and constructs apart from western medicine.

However, it does merge well with allopathic medicine and can often provide a patient with an added boost. It focuses on coming at the problem from a different direction. More than ever before, acupuncturists are found in hospitals and conduct clinical studies through the National Institute of Health.

Much of acupuncture is based on a 3000-year-old science ‘Looking and Listening.’ The majority of diagnosis in oriental medicine include distinguishing characteristics of the patient’s pulse and the shape, color and coating of the tongue.

Different manifestations relate to different conditions. Part of acupuncture’s validly comes from its internal consistency. A puffy tongue with a white coating might relate to a digestive issue of the spleen. A red, dry tongue with cracks could signify a kidney deficiency.

Also, the idea of hot conditions versus cold conditions in Chinese medicine may seem odd, but these concepts usually translate into the acid and base balance in western medicine.

Most treatment plans for acupuncture run between 6-10 sessions. These sessions are scheduled for approximately an hour and the needle protocol varies from session to session. This depends on the details of the patient and how much progress has happened.

What is acupuncture?
Small needles are inserted along pathways called meridians that lie just under the skin. The needling is shallow and over the course of a treatment, the needles might be rotated or stimulate with a mild electric current to augment the treatment.

As a further adjunct, your practitioner might use other modalities in oriental medicine such as cupping or moxibustion to improve results.

Acupuncture has often been found to be effective for stubborn chronic conditions where the patient has not had any relief.

So what’s the best answer to the question: what to expect from an acupuncture treatment? It’s the realization that all you have to lose is your pain.