Before starting acupuncture treatment the acupuncturists will take a detailed history like ask you about your primary health concern, lifestyle habits, food habits and appetite, emotions, menstrual cycle, sleep, stress, and sensitivity to foods, temperature, and climatic changes.
He or she will examine you - like check the pulses on each wrist, examine the tongue, note your face color, voice etc. The acupuncturists will examine the three pulse points at the wrist of each hand as well to determine the health of the major meridians.
After the history and examination the acupuncturist will make a diagnosis and start treatment. Mostly 6-12 needles are used during the treatment. There is no relation between the number of needles used and the intensity of treatment. It is precise placement of the needles is important for cure. The depth of needle insertion can range from fraction of an inch to two inches.
When the needle is inserted you will feel a slight sting or prick. After the needle is inserted, you should not feel any pain. During the treatment you should feel comfortable and relaxed. If you have pain, numbness, or discomfort, tell your acupuncturist about it immediately. The length of treatment can vary from seconds to hours - but the usual length of treatment is about 20 to 30 minutes.
The techniques used by an acupuncturist during the treatment include
- Moxibustion: In this technique the acupuncture needles are heated with dried herb sticks to activate and warm the acupuncture point. This is also known as "moxa".
- Cupping—This technique involves application of glass cups to create suction on the skin. It is done to relieve indolent qi and blood, e.g. in sports injury.
- Herbal medicine: Along with acupuncture you will be given Chinese herbs in the form of teas, pills, and capsules. This helps to supplement acupuncture treatment.
- Electrostimulation: In this technique electrical stimulation to two to four acupuncture needles is given. It can help to relieve pain and muscle pain.
- Laser acupuncture: This technique involves non-needle stimulation of needles
Also read : Acupuncture treatment for diabetes
Most acupuncturists will call you once or twice a week for the procedure until the desired therapeutic results are achieved. During your treatment, the acupuncturist will use different combinations of points and different needling techniques to get the desired result.
Acupuncture is a low-risk procedure, safe and effective procedure when performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner. But like any other procedure there are certain risk and side effects associated with acupuncture.
When you go for an acupuncture session exercise good hygiene and wear loose fitting clothing (gowns are provided), as you may have to partially disrobe for needle insertion at the acupuncture points.
Conditions treated with acupuncture
Acupuncture cannot cure all illness but it is very effective treatment for several diseases and conditions. It is an effective treatment for chronic pain, such as headaches, menstrual cramps and low back, neck or muscle pain. Besides chronic pain acupuncture is useful for treatment of osteoarthritis, facial pain, spastic colon and repetitive strain. Acupuncture can probably improve the functioning of your body’s immune system (the body's defense system against diseases). For diseases like cancer acupuncture is usually used in combination with other treatments.
Also read : Acupuncture for Asthma treatment
What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?
It is advisable to bring someone along with you on your first acupuncture treatment. He or she can drive you back home as acupuncture has a very calming effect - this may leave you overly relaxed. In this state driving is not advisable. Even if you feel good after the treatment, do not overexert yourself - take it easy for a few days. Besides this it is important that you continue taking your prescribed medications.
How often should I be treated with acupuncture?
The number of treatments session that you will need will depend on your specific condition and response to acupuncture. Most people need one or two sessions a week for five to six weeks to get the desired result. Your acupuncturist can guide you regarding the number of treatments you should have and how often you should have them.
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