I am sure very few of us are actually fond of needles. Many of us may have encountered terrifying experiences with the needle during vaccinations when we were young. I believe if we have a medical condition that needs to be treated, we certainly would not desire to have needles inserted into our bodies. If you have aichmophobia or belonephobia, which refers to the fear of needles or injections, acupuncture therapy is certainly not for you. But if you are open to an alternative medical treatment, especially one that has a history of over 3000 years, you might indeed benefit from the therapy of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work?
Chinese history records the use of acupuncture from as early as 100BC. It is widely used now to alleviate pain in various parts of the body, chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and even in the treatment of depression and symptoms related to cancer treatment. Many people have also sought acupuncture therapy for conditions like infertility, sleep disorders, obesity and even to overcome addiction to tobacco and alcohol. However, like many other types of alternative medical treatment, acupuncture has not been proven by scientific findings on its effectiveness.
Traditional Chinese medicine functions on the belief that health disorders are a result of a disruption in the flow of energy in the body, also known as ’qi’. The process of acupuncture therapy involves inserting needles into acupuncture points, also known as acupressure points, found on or under the skin. It is believed that this would stimulate the acupressure points, thereby relieving the ’block’ and setting the energy flow back in paths of the meridians, leading to pain relief.
Scientists, however, find it hard to believe in the concept of energy flow within the body. The scientific explanation as to why patients experience pain relief after receiving acupuncture therapy is from the release of endorphin. Instead of acupressure points, the scientists hypothesize that the needles are in fact stimulating specific points on the nerves. This then sends a signal to the brain to release hormones such as endorphins and serotonin, which help to lift the mood of the patients, increasing their threshold for pain, thereby relieving their pain. Therefore, scientists do not believe that acupuncture can cure the root of the medical condition, but rather, only masks the sensation of pain. In this case, positive effects from acupuncture therapy are regarded as placebo effects. More details can be found here: https://www.google.com.sg/amp/s/amp.livescience.com/29494-acupuncture.html
Who is unsuitable for acupuncture therapy?
If you have a phobia for needles, acupuncture is definitely not suitable for you! People who are allergic to metal, or have an active infection in the area of treatment are also not suitable to receive acupuncture therapy.
What happens during an acupuncture session?
The patient will lie on a bed while the physician inserts the sterilized needles into the respective acupressure points after identifying the problem areas. Some clinics even provide heated beds to increase the comfort of their patients. The needles used for acupuncture are very fine and do not typically cause any pain, except for a tiny prick like an insect bite. The session could last as short as five minutes or up to half an hour.
There are typically no side effects from acupuncture therapy and the needles do not leave any visible marks on the body, unlike cupping. However, some people might experience light-headedness or mild bruising or soreness in the areas where the needles were inserted. More details can be found here: https://www.physiofunction.co.uk/physiotherapy/musculoskeletal-physiotherapy/acupuncture
Depending on the medical condition presented, very often, acupuncture is also carried out along with cupping, Chinese therapeutic massage called ’tuina’, moxibustion and ’guasha’. These methods are used in various combinations to improve the flow of ’qi’ in the body to overcome the respective medical conditions.
It is essential that you seek acupuncture treatment only from an appropriately trained and licensed practitioner, who uses only sterilized single-use needles.
What are the different types of acupuncture therapy?
Acupuncture originated from China more than 3000 years ago, but the practice of this therapy has since spread all over the world and evolved. Here are the different types of acupuncture therapy.
1) Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) acupuncture
This is the root of acupuncture therapy. Traditional Chinese medicine therapies are based on the eight principles of opposites – yin, yang, internal, external, excess, deficiency, hot, cold. At the heart of TCM is the focus on the coexistence of yin and yang in creating an erratic balance in the healthy body. TCM acupuncture, therefore, focuses on relieving acupressure points to re-create a balance in the energy flow, or ’qi’ in the body, to restore health.
2) Japanese acupuncture.
Japanese acupuncture makes use of fewer and thinner needles and lesser stimulus during the process of therapy. The main focus is on the five elements theory – wood, wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The acupuncture therapy seeks to restore balance among the five elements, thereby restoring health.
3) Korean acupuncture
As opposed to Japanese acupuncture, Korean acupuncture makes use of more needles during the therapy. It is not uncommon for patients to have up to a hundred needles inserted on their bodies in one session! Another signature of Korean acupuncture is their hand acupuncture. This form of therapy focuses on 300 acupressure points found on the hand which is related to different parts of the body. Therefore, acupuncture is carried out only on the hand, for treatment of ailments in the rest of the body.
4) Auricular acupuncture
Similar to the Korean hand acupuncture, there are acupressure points found in the ear that are related to the rest of the body. Therefore, this acupuncture therapy involves only inserting needles on the ear to treat ailments in the rest of the body.
5) French energetic acupuncture
French energetic acupuncture is a combination of both Eastern and Western medicine. This therapy is usually used in the treatment of chronic illnesses and injury. It focuses on restoring the balance of opposing forces ‘yin’ and ‘yang’, bring about better health.
More details can be found here: https://readanddigest.com/acupuncture-gateway-to-a-healthy-existence/ and http://www.acupuncturexperts.com/different-kinds-of-acupuncture.html
Treating infertility with acupuncture
Infertility is a private yet very troubling medical condition faced by many couples. You would be surprised to find out how many couples in your midst are actually having trouble conceiving. Yet it is no big surprise to know that there are more infertility cases these days as compared to previous decades. More couples are getting married at an older age and also choosing to have children much later. This scenario is especially common in the developed countries where women are also actively involved in the workforce and are less keen to have children. With more stressful lifestyles and more mature ages at the time of trying for a baby, infertility may indeed be an issue that couples have to struggle with. Even though medical advancements now provide couples with several options in assisting them to conceive, due to the high treatment costs involved and invasive techniques used by fertility specialists in the hospitals, a lot of couples have also turned to using alternative medical treatment, including acupuncture therapy.
Acupuncture therapy is said to be able to stimulate the growth and release of eggs in the woman. The restoration of the flow of energy, also known as ‘qi’, in the body would help the body be more receptive towards creating a new life, therefore, increasing the woman’s chances of conceiving. As mentioned earlier, acupuncture therapy is believed to stimulate the brain to release certain hormones. In this case, the greater hormonal production also increases chances of ovulation, which would lead to higher chances of conceiving. It is also said that because acupuncture helps to improve blood circulation in the body, greater blood supply to the ovaries also increases fertility in the woman. In addition, some pregnant women also seek acupuncture therapy during their pregnancy to sustain a healthier pregnancy and to prevent miscarriage. More details can be found here: https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/features/ancient-art-of-infertility-treatment#3
Well, infertility issues may not only lie in the women, it can certainly affect the men as well. Acupuncture therapy is said to be able to stimulate sperm production and improve the quality of sperm, therefore, increasing fertility in men. Acupuncture therapy may be a preferred medical treatment as compared to traditional western ones since acupuncture is less invasive. More details can be found here: https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20050803/acupuncture-may-improve-sperm-quality
Overcoming obesity with acupuncture
There are many reasons that can cause obesity, including hormonal imbalances, slowed metabolism, lack of exercise, overeating, stress, imbalanced diet and certain health conditions. Not many of us have the gift of being able to eat as much as we want and still stay slim. Most of us would certainly need to be very mindful of our diet and intentionally work out in order to stay at a healthy weight. For those who have dieted before, abstaining from our favorite snacks might be the hardest part of dieting to lose weight. It can also be rather demoralizing if you seem to be taking very long to lose weight even though you are exercising multiple times a week. Liposuction may be a solution for some, but it is a very invasive and costly treatment which has very painful side effects. In this case, acupuncture may be a very viable option for those who want a non-invasive and affordable treatment.
Acupuncture therapy helps in overcoming obesity by curbing the person’s appetite, reduce cravings, boost metabolism and improve digestion. It is believed to be able to strengthen the function of the liver, increasing the production of chemicals that are important in the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. More importantly, a healthy liver is better able to carry out its function of breaking down fats, therefore, curbing weight gain. Acupuncture also stimulates hormonal release from the brain which will help to reduce stress which helps to curb binge-eating for some people and keep cravings at bay.
What I find most interesting about acupuncture therapy in overcoming weight loss is that the needles may be left inserted in the acupressure points and taped down for a few days in some courses of treatment. It may sound uncomfortable to some but it the presence of needles are useful in controlling one’s appetite, I would think this is a much better option than going for invasive surgery or even getting your stomach tied up to reduce appetite!
More details can be found here: https://www.doctoroz.com/article/acupuncture-and-weight-loss
Who are the famous celebrities who find acupuncture therapy useful?
Celebrities are definitely a group of people who are highly concerned about their physical appearances, health, and well-being. In addition, most celebrities lead very stressful lifestyles, working extremely long hours and are constantly traveling. All these inevitably bring about negative impacts on their health. Yet taking certain medications may not always be a good solution due to potential side effects. It is no surprise that many famous celebrities have also turned to acupuncture therapy to improve their health and overcome certain medical issues.
Jennifer Aniston sought acupuncture therapy to relieve stress and lose weight. The therapy apparently also made her skin glow and lifted her moods.
Matt Damon sought auricular acupuncture therapy for conditions of stiff neck and back pain problems. For an action-movie star, it is not surprising that he has had multiple injuries or physical strains from his work.
Kim Kardashian sought acupuncture therapy during her pregnancy and it apparently helped her to relieve stress.
Celine Dion sought acupuncture for fertility issues and apparently successfully conceived through the treatments. Mariah Carey and Natalie Portman also sought acupuncture treatment for fertility issues.
Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson sought acupuncture treatment for weight loss purposes.
Madonna and Cher used acupuncture treatment for face-lifting purposes to retain their youthful looks.
More details can be found here: https://www.advancedhealthcaresolutions.org/single-post/2017/05/07/26-CELEBRITIES-YOU-WON’T-BELIEVE-USE-ACUPUNCTURE
Personal experience with acupuncture
My mother has been suffering from back pain that radiates to her left arm for a couple of months now. She went to get an X-ray done and was told that she has bone spurs on her spine. Bone spurs refer to the outgrowth of bones along the edges of the bone. The doctor told my mother that this is a result of wear and tear. Her condition is diagnosed as mild osteoarthritis and spondylitis. Unfortunately for her, an appointment with the orthopedic at the government hospital was only available in three months’ time. Therefore, she decided to seek alternative treatment from the traditional Chinese medical physician.
After assessing my mother’s condition, the physician proceeded with acupuncture and inserted needles on her back as well as her biceps where she is experiencing pain. The entire treatment only lasted less than fifteen minutes but my mother said she experienced immediate pain relief from the session. Acupuncture, like many other types of alternative treatments, requires multiple sessions before the condition is cured. For my mother’s condition, she has been seeking acupuncture treatment every week and combined with the herbal medicines prescribed by the physician, her condition has greatly improved over the course of two months.
Testimonials on positive acupuncture experience
- Chronic stomach illness – Stephen Carson
Stephen shared in a YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFZtKX1KU5s) that he suffered chronic stomach illness for over 6 years and had seen over 40 doctors, yet didn’t manage to receive any proper diagnosis. He had a flare up with severe pain that lasted over 30 hours. After receiving his first acupuncture treatment, his pain level was reduced by more than half.
- Chronic neck and shoulder pain – Cathy Tinsley
Cathy shared in a YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEaLR4-YqIk) that she suffered chronic neck pain for over 20 years, and chronic shoulder pain for about 8 years. After receiving her first acupuncture, she claims that her neck feels 99% better and her shoulder feels about 80% better. Amazing pain relief results from acupuncture therapy!
- Frozen shoulder
A middle-aged woman in India was suffering from a frozen shoulder for over 5 years. Her condition was diagnosed by an orthopedic in India. Barely one minute after receiving acupuncture therapy, she seemed to have been fully cured! What is most amazing about the entire treatment is that the needles were not even inserted anywhere near her shoulder. What the miraculous process in the YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPluFcG4Vb4.
After presenting to you the facts about acupuncture therapy, I hope you now have a better idea of this alternative medical treatment. You might also be more open to the idea of going for the very first session of acupuncture therapy to address a long-standing health issue, especially after seeing the great number of celebrities and testimonies from those who have benefited from acupuncture therapy. May you find the relief and comfort that you seek!