Acupuncture is a common treatment for chronic and acute pain relief – the FDA estimates that between 9 and 12 million treatments are performed annually in the US. Acupuncture can be an accessible, safe, and inexpensive treatment for a wide variety of painful symptoms, often providing a surgery-free option to pervasive health problems.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture was developed by the Chinese thousands of years ago and is performed to stimulate the body’s own healing powers and strengthen the immune system. This is achieved through a combination of the insertion of tiny needles, application of light pressure, and use of heat.
According to ancient Chinese belief, there is a network of energy called “qi” (pronounced “chee”) that flows through the body and connects through different channels known as “meridians.” These pathways are related to the organs, muscular systems, and nervous systems, and their specific internal functions. If there is an imbalance in the flow of the body’s energy, pain or illness is the result. Acupuncture is used to correct this imbalance.
Many studies performed by physicians have demonstrated that acupuncture treatments can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relieving substances found in the brain and the spinal cord. This is one possible explanation for the pain relief patients often feel after an acupuncture treatment.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
As acupuncture is performed, there is a brief “needle prick” sensation as the needle enters the skin – this is not typically painful, as the needles are so thin. Then, as the energy effect occurs, the patient may feel numbness, heat, dull aching, or tingling where the needle is located. Many patients find the treatments are actually very relaxing as a result of the natural pain-reliving endorphins.
How is Acupuncture Performed?
The treatment is non-pharmacological and completely safe – there are no contraindications, it does not interfere with any medications, and associated side effects are rare and extremely mild. The procedure is typically pain-free, since the needles are finer than those used for injections. Minor side effects may include slight dizziness or a small amount of blood when needles are removed.
Acupuncture is performed with extremely fine, flexible, hair-thin, single-use sterile needles made of a silver and steel alloy. There is nothing special about the needles themselves; they are simply tools to manipulate the energy imbalances within the body. Heat or light pressure from the acupuncturist’s hands may also be applied. The needles are typically left in place for 15 – 20 minutes, and may be rotated by the physician or stimulated electrically. Once the procedure is finished, the needles are properly disposed.
Conditions Treated with Acupuncture
Our licensed acupuncturists use acupuncture to treat the following disorders:
- Neck and Back Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Myofascial Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition, acupuncture can potentially help with:
- Weight Loss
- Smoking Cessation
- Anxiety and Panic Disorders
- Many other medical conditions
Is Acupuncture Expensive?
Because acupuncture is non-invasive and non-pharmacological, it is often the most cost-effective treatment option for pain. Many insurance companies cover acupuncture, and for our patients without insurance coverage we offer discounted pricing.