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How Does Acupuncture Work?

Last Updated: March 10th, 2022 at 03:58 pm
Read Time: 3 Minutes

The ancient art of acupuncture was traditionally used in China to treat a variety of conditions and relieve pain. Now, it is common to find chiropractors and other professionals in the medical field performing acupuncture in order to ease lower back pain, nerve pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, and more.

If you are considering booking an acupuncture appointment, but are not sure if it is the right treatment for you, learn more about what acupuncture really is and how it works to relieve pain.

Dr. Wu Dhi explains how acupuncture works in this video demonstration. See how acupuncture treatment is performed on an athlete to provide an energy pick-me-up by moving the chi to improve blood and oxygen flow. See how small the needles used for acupuncture are, and learn how Dr. Dhi treats children and needle-shy patients with needle-free acupuncture!

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the act of inserting needles at various points on the skin in certain “acupoints.” If performed by a professional, these needles will not harm the skin and you probably will not notice that they have been inserted in your body.

When your acupuncturist chooses specific points of insertion, the body releases endorphins, (a natural pain-killing chemical), and affects the area of the brain that manages serotonin. In some instances, the acupuncturist may apply an electrical stimulation or heat to enhance the needles effects. In others, he or she may twirl or twist the needle.

Typically, around ten needles will be inserted into the skin, and they will be left inserted for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes while you lay flat on your stomach or back. The course of treatment depends on the source of the pain but normally will include six to twelve sessions over a period of several months to a year.

What is Acupressure?

Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture without small needles. Acupressure refers to applying pressure to specific points within "channels" in the body. This process can help release nitric oxide and endorphins which help lower your blood pressure and triggers positive feelings.

Is it Safe?

The risk of serious injuries and pain is low if you visit a certified acupuncture practitioner. In the majority of cases, the worst pain that is noted as a result of acupuncture is soreness at the site of the needles. Minor bleeding and bruising may also occur, depending on how sensitive the skin is.

In very rare cases, infections have been described. However, this is due to reused needles. Again, be sure you are visiting a reputable establishment, where only sterile and disposable needles are used.

It should be noted that not everyone is an ideal candidate for acupuncture. The following conditions may increase the chances of complications from acupuncture:

Pacemaker – Mild electrical pulses are sometimes incorporated into acupuncture, which could potentially interfere with a pacemaker’s operation.

Bleeding disorder – If you already have a bleeding disorder prior to visiting an acupuncture practitioner, your chances of bleeding and bruising from the needles will be increased.

Pregnancy – Certain types of acupuncture can stimulate labor. Be sure to consult your doctor if you are pregnant and planning to visit an acupuncture practitioner.

Does it Work?

Acupuncture is a great option with a good track record that is worth considering. The truth is that it does, in fact, provide real relief from common forms of pain. For new pain or pain that other medications just do not seem to alleviate, try an acupuncturist. By receiving treatments weekly, you can expect to feel a real difference with a very low chance of adverse side effects.

Make an appointment for acupuncture at one of our offices near you:

About the Author:
Dr. Steven Schwartz
Raised in Coral Springs, Florida, Dr. Steven Schwartz is a major advocate for the South Florida community. CEO of ChiroCare of Florida, Dr. Schwartz has grown the group from one facility to 11. Whether he’s treating patients or volunteering for community service, Dr. Schwartz’s long-term goal is to ensure that each and every patient can experience the ChiroCare of Florida difference.
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