Acupuncture is a controversial treatment, if only because the myths regarding this therapy are numerous and one is brighter than the other. Acupuncture – the benefits and harms of the method, possible side effects and features of the session are of interest to many who are not afraid to use alternative areas of medicine. We will tell you what this method is, why it is popular and whether it is really effective.
You will learn how the session goes and what to expect from such treatment. And also get acquainted with real patient reviews and expert opinion on acupuncture.
What is acupuncture?
This method of treatment has several names at once – acupuncture, acupuncture, and also acupuncture, acupuncture… The essence of the therapeutic direction is reduced to the effect of needles on specific biological active points of the human body. The method is undoubtedly ancient, but the exact age of the direction is still impossible to find out (although it is known that treatment with pointed stones was used in the Neolithic).
Specifically, acupuncture appeared in ancient China, and the medical direction is associated with the oriental worldview. Everything in a person is filled with the vital force of Chi, and it moves along certain meridians in the body. And if there is a stagnation or imbalance of Qi in the body, diseases develop. And since the meridians on the surface of the body are projected in the form of those very points, then it is necessary to act on them.
Western medicine does not fully recognize acupuncture, because it has no evidence base. But she also cannot fully explain the effectiveness of treatment (not in every case, but not in a small number of them) either. There is a theory explaining the effectiveness of acupuncture by the fact that needles increase blood flow and excite nerve endings in a specific area of the body. As a result, the body produces hormones that act like morphine and can relieve pain.
The benefits of acupuncture
Modern research methods give their own interpretation of the benefits of acupuncture. Thus, with the help of functional MRI and transcranial Doppler therapy, it was possible to determine that the effect on acupuncture points changes the activity of the subcortical brain structures. But the departments of the central nervous system have a clear connection with the organs, therefore their stimulation can give positive changes in the work of these organs.
When acupuncture helps:
- with pains of various localization – head and lumbar as well;
- with paresis of the facial nerve;
- in cases of some pathologies of the musculoskeletal system;
- with arterial hypertension;
- if the patient has depression, neurosis;
- with gastritis and gastric ulcer;
- in the case of certain diseases of the reproductive organs.
Chinese acupuncturists claim that they can cope with 250 different ailments. Diseases of the nervous system and osteochondrosis are pathologies in which, probably, most often patients turn to specialists.
There is a common mistake – referring to acupuncture therapists when traditional medicine does not help or does not help much. This is not the case; acupuncture will be most effective at an early stage of the disease. If the changes are already organic, then oriental medicine is often powerless.
Harm and side effects
Like any officially approved treatment, acupuncture has contraindications.
Do not use acupuncture treatment for:
- high temperature (whatever the cause);
- any infections in the body;
- acute surgical pathologies;
- pregnancy of any period;
- children under 7 years of age, as well as the advanced age of the patient;
- severe immune diseases;
- blood diseases;
- various kinds of intoxication;
- mental illness;
Finally, it is very important who will treat you. If you fall into the hands of a skilled professional, the likelihood of a good result is high. But if the qualifications of the doctor are questionable, the treatment will be either useless or even harmful. For example, the use of non-sterile needles is a risk of infection to the patient, the development of an inflammatory process. If the doctor cannot pick up points during treatment, the patient risks damaging blood vessels and nerves, reflex zones. Needle setting rules are a guarantee that the physician will not harm the patient.
To prevent the treatment from being harmful or useless, several factors must be observed at once. Firstly, the correct diagnosis, and secondly, the acupuncturist’s exact knowledge of the anatomy and each of the 1700 acupuncture points. Finally (and this is the most important thing), the physician must know how the points to be influenced in each particular case are combined. Be sure to check where you go for help: the doctor must have the appropriate diploma, and the clinic or office must have a license.
A course of acupuncture, which is prescribed without preliminary examinations, diagnosis is unequivocal harm. The doctor must know the patient’s diagnosis not from his words, but from the medical record. He must clarify all possible contraindications, features of his health, provide for individual reactions.
As the doctors themselves note, each energy channel that they have to influence gains strength at a certain time of the year and at a certain time of the day. But it is not very easy for a patient to get an appointment at the right daily or annual rhythm, although the maximum improvement in the condition is possible precisely with this approach.
Features of the procedure:
- The body must be rested before the start of the session. The patient should not eat for at least 2 hours at the time of the start of the procedure. The whole procedure takes 20-30 minutes (on average).
- The doctor invites the patient to lie down. It is very important that the patient is not alarmed and thinks about the pleasant.
- An acupuncture session does not require the patient to be active. He needs to relax, fulfill the doctor’s requests, try not to think about anything.
- You should not be afraid of pain. They certainly are, because the doctor works with needles that enter the skin with its numerous pain receptors. But the pain is weak and short-term, so even a child usually tolerates the session calmly.
- Most doctors work with disposable needles that are sterile. The needles are used once and are sterilized. The doctor must open the package with the patient.
This video shows how an acupuncture session goes in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis.
The quick effect is not quite what you would expect from this method. A 10-day course of treatment is already more predictive of the success of therapy. But you still need to take into account that often relief does not come during the session, but after the completion of the whole course.
And even more so, do not expect a quick effect if you are using acupuncture for weight loss or are being treated with acupuncture for smoking. Losing weight from just one course will definitely not work, you need a consistent and long-term intervention, combined with other methods and medical prescriptions.
Feedback and expert opinion
Natalya Kholopyuk, an acupuncturist of the highest category, notes that the main goal of this oriental method is harmonization, i.e. fixing everything that can be corrected, and improving what can be improved.
The doctor also notes the following:
- allergic diseases, post-stress conditions, as well as joint diseases respond well to acupuncture treatment;
- the method copes well with addictions (excess weight due to overeating, smoking), but alcoholism cannot be defeated by needle therapy;
- there is no need for healthy people to use this method, yet this is not a health improvement, but a treatment that initially presupposes some kind of illness.
And here are a few reviews of real patients who used the services of acupuncture therapists.
Anna Bayunova: For two years I suffered from pain in the spine (cervical and thoracic). I didn’t want to take pills, after muscle relaxants there were terrible side effects – weakness and drowsiness. But the acupuncture course helped. True, after the course itself, 3 days passed, and only then the long-awaited relief came. Now I treat my osteochondrosis only with exercise therapy and two courses of acupuncture a year. I don’t drink pills at all.
Irina Melnik: I had, as people say, my facial nerve was chilled. The pain gave to the eye, and to the ear, and to the neck. It seems to have been cured, but as if not completely. For a whole year, I was half sick. As a result, I went to acupuncture, and after two ten-day sessions I noticed an improvement. I realized that a week had passed, and nothing bothers me. Then two, three … I guess I’ll go some more.
Dmitriy: After the divorce and moving to another city, I had a strong neurosis. It feels like the body has given up, disease after disease. He healed, but inside did not let go. I started going to the acupuncture room in the medical rehabilitation center. At first I liked the very atmosphere of the sessions: calm, relaxed. And then I realized that there is a sense. I have already completed 4 courses. It definitely works. But I know there are contraindications.
Acupuncture is a method as ancient as it is in demand. He developed such relatively modern varieties as electric acupuncture (a device that generates a weak electric current is used) and auriculopuncture (in this case, the needles are placed in the auricle). If you have indications for treatment and there are no contraindications, if you know a good center and an experienced specialist, turning to such a treatment method can please you with successful results.
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