Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) is thousands of years old. At its foundation is the belief that the body must be in balance to function optimally.
At times, we all experience illness or disease. These states of imbalance may be due to acute injury, a chronic condition, or simply, in response to stress. Acupuncture is particularly effective at addressing the underlying causes of our physical and emotional discomforts.Trained practitioners develop specific, individualized treatments for their patients.
Even though American culture has embraces AOM in recent years, there remain common misconceptions about acupuncture.
1. ACUPUNCTURE IS NOT PAINFUL
Acupuncture filaments are solid, stainless steel and no thicker than a cat’s whisker. People experience acupuncture differently. Upon insertion, if felt at all, the needle is often compared to a mosquito bite that quickly disappears. People describe sensations as warming, heavy, numb or tingling.
2. ACUPUNCTURE IS RECOMMENDED BY A VARIETY OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organizations (WHO) and Cochrane reviews recognize acupuncture as a valid treatment for a wide range of conditions including low back pain, osteoarthritis, depression, reproductive health and allergic rhinitis. The US military also uses acupuncture in the field. Patients are refereed by a wide range of healthcare practitioners including primary care physicians, surgeons, pain specialists, reproductive endocrinologists, dentists, massage therapists, physical therapists and podiatrists.
3. ACUPUNCTURE COMPLEMENTS OTHER CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENTS
Evidence shows that integrative care enhances healthcare outcomes. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to supplement the care you receive from other medical professionals. Oncologists rely on acupuncture to decrease harmful side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Orthopedic surgeons rely on acupuncture to ensure a speedy, complete recovery after surgery. Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine physicians often rely on acupuncture as a nudge to continue healing for those who have plateaued on their recovery.
4. ACUPUNCTURE TREATS MORE THAN JUST PAIN
Although acupuncture certainly helps in addressing pain, this is by no means the only condition it treats. Research and clinical experience show that acupuncture is also effective in addressing hormonal imbalances, infertility, nausea and vomiting, hypertension, allergies, depression and anxiety, addiction and stress. Some people choose acupuncture for preventative care and health maintenance.
5. ACUPUNCTURE HAS FAR-REACHING EFFECTS ON BODY AND MIND
Studies show that during acupuncture, our brains begin to release chemicals such as endorphins (natural painkillers). Acupuncture has also proven to have an anti-inflammatory effect and boost the immune system. Acupuncture helps children and is even used in veterinary medicine, fields in which “the placebo effect” is unlikely to help.
Originally from PRO Pulse March-April 2017
By Rachel Weissman, Acupuncturist