Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that has been around for more than 2500 years and is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for back pain.
According to the theory of acupuncture, energy—called chi or qi—flows through the body along pathways called meridians. If the flow of chi is interrupted, pain or illness can occur. When that happens, very thin needles can be inserted along the meridians to correct the flow of chi.
Like all back pain treatments, acupuncture seems to be most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments. It is also very safe, with no known risks as long as you choose a reputable practitioner. Needles are sterile, disposable, and FDA-approved. In the U. S. they are used only one time, sealed before use, and disposed as hazardous waste after treatment.
During an acupuncture treatment session, the practitioner will insert anywhere from one to twenty needles into various places in the body. Some needles may go in just under the skin, while others may go deeper into muscle and fat.
Needles will be left in from fifteen to thirty minutes. The practitioner may turn needles one way or another after inserting them into the body, or leave some in for only a few seconds before removing them and inserting them elsewhere in the body.
You may be surprised to learn that acupuncture is rarely described as painful. In fact, many people find it relaxing and even fall asleep during treatment. Some people feel energized. One reason for this is the type of needles used. Acupuncture needles are very different from hypodermic needles. Instead they are very thin and fine, like hair. They are also solid, whereas hypodermic needles are not, as they are made to extract tissue. So getting acupuncture needles inserted into your skin will feel nothing like getting a shot at the doctor’s office.
Since some medical doctors also practice acupuncture, you will want to make sure they are licensed in acupuncture in addition to their other training.
To check if a practitioner is licensed and accredited, contact the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
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Ray Attebery is the Managing Director for Daily Health Updates, a breaking health news national service for TV and Radio broadcast stations in the United States and also President for The Centre for Pain Relief in New York City.
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