Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture works by balancing the flow of energy or "qi" (pronounced "chee") in the body.
From a Western medical perspective, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the nervous system, which can activate the release of natural painkillers such as endorphins. It may also affect the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that can influence the body's response to pain and stress.
Acupuncture has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, anxiety, and digestive disorders, among others. While there is still much to learn about how acupuncture works, it is generally considered safe when performed by a licensed practitioner (like me) and has become increasingly popular as a drugless therapy in many parts of the world.
All interventions come with risk and acupuncture is no exception. Common side effects include soreness and minor bleeding or bruising where a needle is inserted. The risk of infection exists but it quite low with single use, disposable needles. There have been rare, reported cases of organ puncture which is why it is important to go to a qualified professional.
Acupuncture needles are very small to minimize discomfort, and they are easily removed and adjusted if a patient finds one bothersome. Acupuncture is particularly popular as an option for pain management. Pain control is the main reason I use acupuncture with my patients. Most of my patients (not all) experience some relief after the first treatment. Some simple conditions have resolved after one treatment but it is not uncommon to need multiple treatments which is why I offer this service at a substantially reduced rate compared to my other services.