Acupuncture, or sometimes called ‘needling’; is one of the most popular Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. It’s believed to help balance the flow of vital energy, or “Qi,” and promote natural healing and wellness.
What is Acupuncture?
How Does Acupuncture Work?
A TCM Perspective
According to Chinese medicine, the body has a network of pathways called meridians through which Qi flows. The smooth flow of Qi is believed to be essential for maintaining health.
Acupuncture points are located along these meridians. By inserting needles at specific points, acupuncture balances the flow of Qi along the meridians. By unblocking or redistributing Qi, health imbalances can be corrected.
A Scientific Perspective
Inserting needles into acupuncture points stimulates sensory nerves under the skin and in muscles. This stimulation sends signals to the brain and spinal cord, leading to the release of various endorphins (natural painkillers) and neurotransmitters. This can result in pain relief and other therapeutic effects.
The mechanisms of needle insertion can also:
– Improve blood flow and circulation to the treated area
– Enhance the delivery of nutrients and oxygen
– Aid in the removal of waste products
– Trigger the production of immune system cells and growth factors, which encourages the body’s natural healing processes.
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is one of the most widely used TCM treatments due to its wide-ranging therapeutic benefits for various health issues. It can be used on its own as a primary treatment or in conjunction with other TCM treatments.
The conditions and issues where acupuncture are commonly used include (but not limited to):
- Aches and pains
Acupuncture is especially effective as a pain management method (e.g. For back pain, shoulder pain, etc) . When executed proficiently by a qualified physician, patients often report almost instantaneous pain relief in treated areas.
- Sports injuries (aid healing)
- Muscular spasms
- Headaches and migraines
- Numbness, paresthesia, abnormal or loss of feeling in various body parts
- Post stroke rehabilitation
- Erectile dysfunction & loss of libido
- Addictions (Smoking, alcohol, drugs, etc.)
- Cancer (Boosting immunity, providing relief for symptoms and treatment side effects)
- Fertility & conception (to boost chances of conceiving & as an adjunct treatment for IVF)
- Skin conditions (acne, eczema, firming sagging skin)
- Weight loss (boosting metabolism, suppressing appetite, rebalancing body)
- Hair loss, and many more.
In deciding which type of TCM treatment is best for you, it would be best to consult your particular condition with your physician, who would recommend the best treatment tailored to your condition and body constitution.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
When acupuncture needles are not properly sterilised or handled, there’s a risk of infection at the insertion sites. However, when performed by a trained and qualified practitioner using sterile needles, it is generally considered to be safe and low risk. At PULSE, our physicians follow standardised safety & hygiene protocols for treatments, which include the use of sterile, single-use needles and prior disinfection of insertion sites.
Most patients do not experience side effects from acupuncture. However, occasionally some might experience transient discomfort like nausea, dizziness or bruising, pain and slight bleeding from the needle insertion. Additionally, patients with alcohol allergies are advised to notify the attending physician prior treatment.
Is Acupuncture Painful?
Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, much finer than the needles used for injections or blood draws. Many individuals report that they barely felt anything while some describe the prick of acupuncture needles as a tingling sensation or pressure around the insertion point. Most acupuncture sessions are designed to be relaxing. Many find the process calming and even fall asleep during treatment.
Some individuals might also feel some soreness around the treated points post-treatment, which is believed to signify stagnation in the areas.
If you still have other concerns or questions, do discuss them with your physician before the start of treatment. This can most likely help alleviate your worries and provide you with a clearer understanding of what to expect.
Begin your journey to wellness. Book your appointment with a PULSE physician today.