Laying on a table and being stuck with several needles is something that most people avoid. However, to devotees of acupuncture, it’s not something they flee from – it’s something they look forward to.
Acupuncture was first practiced in ancient China beginning around 1600–1100 BCE as a way to help bring the body, mind and spirit into balance. Thin needles are inserted into points on the body that directly relate to certain body functions. This brings the flow of life or qi (pronounced “chee”) back into balance. The qi runs through channels that are called meridians. And when a meridian is blocked the qi becomes imbalanced which can create a wide variety of ailments. Also, because meridians are encompassed in all internal organs any blocked qi can affect other organs as well. There needs to be a constant ying and yang energy.
There are a variety of conditions and diseases that acupuncture is often used to treat. Some of them include migraines and headaches; arthritis; asthma; allergies; sinusitis; irritable bowel syndrome; reproductive issues; food allergies; menstrual cramps; depression; fatigue and addiction.
During a treatment session a trained acupuncture practitioner will use anywhere from 1 to 20 FDA approved needles that can be from 1 inch to 9 inches long. The needles will be left in for 15 to 30 minutes depending on the type of treatment. Patients often say that the needles will relax or energize them and that they feel a tingling sensation. It’s rare to find a patient who says that acupuncture is unpleasant.
Acupuncture can also be viewed from a scientific angle via western science. The needles being inserted into various points in the body either stimulate or inhibit the central nervous system, which influences the internal organs. The nervous system will then release chemicals like endorphins and opiods that can dull pain for a variety of ailments.
Acupuncture isn’t just an “alternative” treatment to western medicine. Its use for certain conditions has been endorsed by the U.S. National institutes of Health, the National Health Service in Britain and the World Health Organization.