Acupuncture - Poke me with needles, and make me better
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The idea of being voluntarily poked with needles might not be an enjoyable one for most people. However, popularity of acupuncture is growing at a constant rate among the Western patients. In the East, where acupuncture was originated, its numerous benefits are old news.
For over 2,500 years Chinese people have been effectively using acupuncture as part of their traditional medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to health as "qi", which is a constantly changing flow of energy. Whenever "qi" gets blocked or constrained, some form of disease develops. To cure the disease, or to relieve the pain, the TCM specialist must strengthen the flow of "qi" or remove the blockage.
This is where the process of acupuncture actually begins. The acupuncturist uses tiny flexible needles (about three times the thickness of human hair) that he/she inserts under the skin at specific points (those are called acupoints). This procedure causes a patient minor discomfort, since the acupuncturist will sometime twist the needles or send a weak electric shock through them to encourage the flow of "qi", however it rarely causes pain.
What to expect
A good acupuncturist will carefully look over your entire medical history, feel your pulse, examine your tongue as well as breath and body smell. After the examination, your treatment may begin. Unlike Neo's acupuncture treatment in the famed Matrix, you'll almost never be under any danger of resembling a porcupine. Acupuncturist usually uses anywhere from one to fifteen needles, depending on your symptoms. The treatment lasts up to one hour and is known to have a relaxing effect after which most people find an incredible urge to fall asleep.
Things to watch out for
When you are receiving a treatment make sure that your acupuncturist is using disposable needles. Treat acupuncture needles as regular needles that if not properly sterilized can transfer serious diseases.
Pregnant women are advised against acupuncture as it has been known to induce premature labor as well as miscarriage. Make sure to first consult your treating physician before receiving the treatment.
Exercise caution when choosing your acupuncturist. As it is a fairly new practice in Western medicine, unfortunately there are quite a few acupuncturists who are in fact not qualified to perform such treatment. It is best to be referred to an acupuncturist by your treating physician.
Although acupuncture is used to cure many illnesses in Asia , in Western countries it is used primarily as a chronic pain relief. But as the research continues and western medicine is finding more use for acupuncture procedure, the people's attitudes towards this treatment are continuously changing and the reputation of ancient Chinese healing method is become increasingly more credible. Even insurance companies are following the growing trend by offering cover on "alternative medicine", which includes acupuncture treatments as long as it was referred by patient's treating physician.
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