Acupuncture is an ancient practice that began in China over 3000 years ago. Since then, it has been adapted in different parts of the world to offer certain health benefits to people, such as alleviating pain. Moreover, despite the benefits it has provided over the years, there still isn’t much research done on how it works and how effective it can be against certain health conditions. Well, this article goes over different illnesses and health issues helped by acupuncture. This discussion only serves to highlight the potential benefits of the practice. This way, you can determine if you should book an appointment with your local acupuncture specialist or not.
What Is Acupuncture?
Before we can talk about the benefits of acupuncture, it’s best that you understand what acupuncture is. Acupuncture is a process in which needs are inserted into a person’s body. The purpose of that process is to help balance that person’s body. Many people who partake in the process claim that they have seen a boost in overall wellbeing and improvement with some illnesses and health conditions (more on this below).
How Does Acupuncture Work?
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is a means of harmoniously balancing two complementary extremes, known as “yin” and “yang,” of the life force called “qi” (pronounced as “chi”). It is believed that health comprises of these two extremes, and illnesses develop when there’s an imbalance of these two extremes.
In this school of thought, there are 350 acupuncture points that open the path to the energy in the body. Thus, acupuncture involves placing needles in certain patterns to help restore balance. There still isn’t enough scientific evidence that these points work, but some research shows that acupuncture can work in some cases and for some conditions.
The Various Acupuncture Methods
While acupuncture typically involves inserting sterile needles into the body, there are additional methods to enhance the process’s effects. Therefore, the expert may also apply electrical stimulation, heat, or pressure to make acupuncture more effective. In addition to that, there are other acupoint stimulation techniques, such as heat therapy, manual massage, cupping, or the application of herbal medicines topically.
23 Illness and Health Issues Helped by Acupuncture
Now that you have a more comprehensive understanding of the practice, here are 23 illnesses and health issues helped by acupuncture. There have been various studies and research that indicate there are benefits of this practice. It can help with a variety of musculoskeletal problems, which include neck pain, back pain, and more. In addition to that, it also helps with other conditions, as we explain below.
Conditions That It Has Been Proven to Help
We’ll begin by highlighting 23 illnesses and health issues that acupuncture has been proven to help. Therefore, there have been significant studies on the practice’s effects on each of the following conditions mentioned below, and they have been positive.
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Migraines and tension headaches (it can help reduce the frequency of these conditions)
All of these conditions indicate that is the practice can be particularly beneficial to those with conditions that cause chronic pain. Thus, you can help manage that pain to stay more focused on other aspects of your life. While there is scientific evidence to suggest the benefits acupuncture can have on alleviating these conditions, there are no clinical guidelines that give consistent recommendations about when to get the procedure and how frequently.
Conditions That Are Likely to Be Helped by Acupuncture
The World Health Organization (WHO) mentioned a number of health conditions that acupuncture may be effective against back in 2003, and the evidence is still relevant today. Thus, some of these conditions are as follows.
- Certain gastric conditions, which includes peptic ulcer
- Periods that are more painful than usual
- Low and high blood pressure
- Vomiting and nausea induced by chemotherapy
- Morning sickness
- Facial pain
- Allergic rhinitis
- Dental pain
- Tennis elbow
- Strokes (reducing the risk of this condition)
Conditions That May Be Helped But Require Additional Research
There’s a chance that acupuncture can help treat some of the following conditions. However, there’s still significant research required to confirm whether positive effects are guaranteed.
- Spine pain
- Dependence of substances, such as alcohol or tobacco
- Tourette syndrome
- Vascular dementia
- Stiff neck
- allergic rhinitis
Tips on How to Choose an Acupuncturist
If you want to try to alleviate some pain or help treat any of the conditions mentioned above, you should know how to choose an acupuncturist. With the following tips, you’ll be able to choose a professional that knows what they’re doing through experience and knowledge. In turn, you can reduce the possibility of side effects of the process, and you potentially increase the effectiveness of it.
Get Referrals for Practitioners
It’s always best to ask your doctor for some recommendations for acupuncturists. They’re likely to have a better understanding of some great professionals than many others. In addition to that, it’s also a good idea to ask people you know who have had acupuncture. This way, you can learn about certain professionals from the customer’s perspective. Start with your friends and families. If you don’t find any recommendations, check the internet. Look into certain forums or groups, or simply read online reviews by customers for specific practitioners.
Check the Practitioners Credentials
The very first thing you should do after getting some names for practitioners is to check their credentials. You can find these details on state websites. What you want to learn is whether they have the knowledge, training, experience, and skills to perform the procedure well. There’s no point in risking your body and health to save a bit of money. At the same, you should check if the practitioner has had any disciplinary action taken against them or any malpractice claims. If you do find any signs of malpractice, it’s best to avoid that practitioner.
Narrow Down Acupuncturists Who Are Experienced in Helping Treat the Conditions You’re Experiencing
If you’ve been dealing with pain due to osteoarthritis, it’s best to look up acupuncturists who have experience with alleviating the symptoms among people with that condition. In that case, you’re more likely to get the best experience when you visit the practitioner. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a relaxing experience, then you can check out those that excel at relaxation. Thus, it’s a good idea to narrow down your acupuncturists lists based on what you want the procedure to do for you.
Consider the Acupuncturist’s Gender
In most appointments with acupuncturists, people have to share personal information with the practitioner so that they can help them in the best possible way. Some people may feel comfortable sharing that information with a specific gender. For example, if a woman attends a session with an acupuncturist to manage painful periods, she may prefer the practitioner to also be a woman so that there’s some level of relatability and understanding. If the gender of the practitioner is irrelevant, then you can skip this tip.
Consider What Your Insurance Covers
Some insurance plans may cover the cost of acupuncture as well, especially if they help treat certain health conditions. In that case, it’s important to know what practitioners your insurance package may cover. You can save quite a bit of money by knowing all of this beforehand. If you aren’t sure about coverage, it’s best to speak to your insurance company about your specific policy.
It’s important to understand that your acupuncturist is integral to shaping the experience you have with this practice. Thus, it’s in your best interest to do enough research to pick the right one for you. Only then can you begin to truly enjoy the practice’s many benefits.
What You Should Know About Acupuncture
Acupuncture has become popular because it offers significant benefits with very few side effects. Thus, when you choose a capable professional, you also help reduce potential risks. With that said, here are some things you should keep in mind about the benefits of acupuncture.
- The procedure is safe when it is performed correctly (which indicates the importance of choosing an experienced and trained acupuncturist)
- It has minimal side effects
- It has been proven to help treat a variety of different illnesses and conditions (and potentially helps with others)
- The procedure can be combined with other forms of treatment for certain conditions
- The practice may help patients with chronic pain to get some relief that is otherwise not being provided from pain medication
While there is certainly evidence to indicate that acupuncture helps with treating certain conditions, some researchers believe that the belief in its positive effects can help certain people receive some treatment for certain conditions. In any case, if you want to experience a shift toward a more healthy and positive lifestyle, this process may be worth considering.