Acupuncture is a time honoured 2000+ year old medicine that the general community is now turning to more often as word gets around about this potentially beneficial and low-risk treatment. It may assist management of many conditions such as headaches, arthritis or back pain, promoting relaxation or reducing stress. However, it’s perhaps most commonly known for its effect on pain.
How Does Acupuncture Treat Pain?
Chinese medicine and acupuncture essentially looks at pain as blockage. Where you have a block in a joint or body tissue, often simply referred to as stagnation, you are likely to have pain. Your practitioner might say that your Qi is stuck (pronounced ‘chee’, this can be interpreted as the energy that runs through your body in different ways) and insert several acupuncture needles into points on the body and leave them there for roughly 20-30 mins. Sometimes the needles can be distant from the problem area because acupuncture works via the meridians (channels) which affect different areas of the body. It also works holistically, i.e. it assists the body to heal itself by working on the whole person. Ideally addressing the root of the problem and not just the symptoms. Inserting needles into these points helps to move stagnation and promote blood to flow again, relaxing tight muscles and allowing freer movement in the area.
Common Types of Pain managed with Acupuncture
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Lower back pain and sciatica
- Headaches and migraines
- Menstrual pain
- Carpal tunnel
- Elbow & knee issues
How many treatments are needed?
A good idea is to plan on weekly treatments until you start to see a benefit, then gradually lengthen the time until the next visit. Consistent appointments initially are important as they start to improve the problem and the treatments build on each other. It’s worth noting that often these issues have taken weeks/months or even years to appear and several visits are needed to really be effective. Having said that, sometimes people see remarkable results from as little as 1-3 treatments.