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Sticking the Needle In: Acupuncture and You

Aug 17, 2007
Many people take countless types of medication in the hopes of finding pain relief for persistent conditions, such as aching joints or a weak back. Indeed, some people find it difficult to walk or even get out of bed, thanks to the suffering they must deal with.

Prescription medication doesn't always help and individuals tend to try various different pills in the hopes of finding some relief. What if there was an alternative to pain that didn't involve myriad types of drugs and had a long-standing track record of providing measurable, positive results? Well, there is - acupuncture.

Acupuncture is the practice of placing long, thin needles into various areas of the skin. The needles are then manipulated by hand, or a small electrical current is used for stimulation. In ancient China, these needles were actually made of stone and were then placed on various points in the body - three hundred and sixty-five points, to be precise, though modern acupuncturists use many more. These points are along what is called a meridian line. There are 12 lines for each of the major organs, one for the spine, and one for the abdomen.

When a person goes to a physician, the doctor monitors blood pressure flowing through the patient's body. An acupuncturist measures energy or Qi (pronounced chee). The needles are placed into the various positions needed and the energy is manipulated. Modern medical studies show that the needles and stimulation actually affect the nerve endings and even produce biochemicals in response to this stimulation.

The big question that is often asked is: Does acupuncture hurt? That is a tough question to answer. Most patients report virtually no pain from acupuncture or, if there had been some pain, it was in comparison to having a hair plucked out, but this is relative to the individual. There are some patients who did report major discomfort, but it was unknown whether it was an actual physical pain or merely the mental anxiety of being stuck with a multitude of needles.

Are there side effects to acupuncture? As with any procedure, there are some risks of side effects, but are much lower and far less common than any other form of alternative treatment. The risks come from improper sterilization of needles, needles being placed too deep, small bleeds, or dizziness. It is believed that these side effects occur as a result of poorly-trained acupuncturist. It is just as important to research the qualifications of an alternative medicine professional, as it is a medical doctor or dentist.

While acupuncture doesn't always provide immediate relief, taking a few sessions before individuals notice measurable results, hope is usually enough to help people have the patience to wait for an end to their suffering. That end usually does occur, the practice of acupuncture having faithfully served individuals with positive results for over two thousand years. The chance that the procedure might succeed at easing pain is well worth taking.
About the Author
John Edmond owns and writes regularly for The Acupuncture Alternative where you can read many more articles on the benefits of the acupuncture needle and how it can help you make the most your life.
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