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Key points about acupuncture

Acupuncture is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has been used clinically for thousands of years. But do you know the facts about this ancient practice?

It regulates the body.  
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into specific spots on the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is thought to have an intricate, interconnected network of vessels called “meridians” that carry energy and blood to every organ, muscle, joint and cell of the body. Pain and disease occur when there is either too much or too little energy and blood flowing through any particular meridian. Acupuncture helps to regulate the flow in the meridians, like adjusting the valves in a large plumbing system.

In terms of modern research, we don’t yet have one theory that explains everything that acupuncture does. We know that it affects brainwaves and the nervous system and stimulates the body to regulate and heal itself.

Acupuncture helps with a wide variety of illness and conditions.
Alleviating pain and nausea are probably the things acupuncture is best known for, and what most insurance companies will cover. There are, however, lots of conditions that acupuncture can help, including smoking cessation, restless leg, menopause and a whole host of mental health conditions. Acupuncture also helps insomnia and anxiety. In spite of the needles, many people are surprised to discover how relaxing and calming acupuncture can be.

It’s important to be patient.
Often, the best acupuncture patients are those who have a desire to reduce their need for medication, and who like to take a natural approach to their health and wellness. Unfortunately, while effective, acupuncture can sometimes take a while to create any lasting change in a condition, especially long-term chronic problems. There are some people that only need two or three sessions (which each take about 40 to 50 minutes) to feel better, but that’s not typical. Usually, you begin to get noticeable improvement within four to six sessions. Your acupuncturist will be able to give you an informed estimate on how long it should take to see changes. 

It’s usually painless.
Occasionally there is a slightly pinch as the needles go in, but it’s much more like getting a mosquito bite than getting an injection. And the pinch only lasts for a second. Most acupuncturists work almost daily with people who are scared of needles. The needles used by an acupuncturist are so much smaller than what they’ve experienced before, there’s almost no comparing the two. You could fit a dozen or so acupuncture needles into the tip of a standard hypodermic needle.

There’s numerous, long-term benefits.
Acupuncture is effective, has an exceptionally low risk of side effect, isn’t addictive and can help reduce or replace some medication. And in looking at each person in a holistic way, acupuncturists are often able to resolve other problems that the person doesn’t see as related. Some people may come in for help with knee pain and have their sleep and hot flashes improve at the same time. 

Check with your insurance first.
Many insurance plans now have acupuncture benefits, although Medicare does not. It’s important to contact your insurance provider to confirm it is covered.

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