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Acupuncture: How does it work?

The origins of acupuncture are unclear, but it is believed to be an ancient healing technique established in the first century in China. For treating pain and other body ailments, acupuncture relies on thin needles being strategically inserted into the skin all over the body. At Guan Physical Therapy and Acupuncture in Gainesville, Fl, we offer world-class acupuncture services to our clients for a variety of health conditions.

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The idea behind acupuncture is that a human’s life force, also known as chi or Qi, flows through meridians, or pathways. When people experience pain and other bodily discomforts, it’s likely that these pathways are blocked. Thus, needles are inserted on the outer layer of the skin tissue, known as acupoints, to clear out these obstructions and facilitate healing.

Acupuncture is widely popular among those who practice holistic and alternative medicine. A study published in the Journal of Pain has suggested that this treatment can be a “reasonable option” for those suffering from chronic pain.

What happens to the body during acupuncture?

Typically, the acupuncturist inserts between 10 to 15 needles into each of the body’s problem areas and leaves these for 20 to 30 minutes. In some cases, the acupuncturist may have to tap, or twirl the needles, or apply stimulation like heat and electricity to enhance the effects.

These needles don’t cause pain. However, the patient may feel a tingling sensation, or a sting during the insertion, followed by some dullness, or numbness when the needles are inside.

The nerves become stimulated when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the body’s acupoints. The process results in a biochemical response where the nerves send signals to the brain to facilitate the release of molecules called neuropeptides and a hormone known as beta-endorphin (feel-good chemicals), per a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal. These natural pain-killing substances increase a person’s pain threshold, reduce inflammation and stress, as well as relax the blood vessels.

A usual treatment process takes between 6 to 12 sessions or at least three months to complete. However, this may also depend on the patient’s preference and his body’s response to the process.

What conditions improve with acupuncture?

Acupuncture is believed to relieve migraines, neck pain, lower back pain, knee pain and osteoarthritis. The World Health Organization (WHO) also came out with a list of conditions that could benefit from acupuncture. Among these are:

  • Chronic pain: migraines, headache, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, back pain, tendinitis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Digestive disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, gastritis and constipation
  • Urinary and reproductive disorders: menstrual cramps, irregular or heavy periods, infertility and menopausal symptoms
  • Psychological and emotional disorders: depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia
  • Neurological Disorders: Trigeminal Neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Lasting Shingles Pain (postherpetic neuralgia), Meralgia Paresthetica
  • Symptom management for adverse reactions to chemotherapy and radiation, including fatigue, generalized pain, dry mouth, peripheral neuropathy, nausea and vomiting
  • Seasonal allergies
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obesity, when coupled with diet and exercise

Acupuncture Risk

What are the risks of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is safe with little side effects when performed correctly by a licensed acupuncturist who uses sterilized needles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, in fact, approved acupuncture needles as a medical device. The patient, however, may experience bleeding, bruising, or soreness around the insertion areas.

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Guan Physical Therapy and Acupuncture – Further Information

If you have any health condition you want to treat with acupuncture, talk to our acupuncturist in Gainesville to get the best assessment and acupuncture options for your health needs. For more information, please contact us.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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