A Primer on Medical Acupuncture
How does needle puncture work?
It sounds like a made-up explanation with no basis in reality, but there are numerous scientific studies which support the effects of acupuncture. Although the exact scientific basis is still unknown, recent theories seem to suggest involvement of complicated neurochemical effects in the brain, nerve to spinal cord impulse modulation, and microscopic connective tissue changes.
What risks and side effects are of concern?
Like other strategies used in treating health conditions, acupuncture may have some side effects. Medications have side effects and allergic reactions, surgeries have risk of infection and complications. For needle puncture, there is a risk of injury, rare infections, minor bleeding, small bruises, and some dizziness.
You can minimize the possible side effects by choosing a licensed acupuncturist. Most countries either have government licensing in place or have professional organizations with very strict rules and regulations.
How do treatments go?
Right after each acupuncture session, you will feel a bit tired and may need to rest. Some people feel an increase in their energy levels. The response to acupuncture is very individual. In some cases there is immediate relief of symptoms. For some patients, the beneficial effects may only be noticed after undergoing a few sessions. Do not be alarmed and keep your acupuncturist updated on what you are feeling to ensure everything is going as expected.
You need never fear the thought of needles ever again. Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment with a long history of effectiveness. It is used to complement current medical therapy and should not replace currently existing medications or treatments.
The safe application of this once exclusively Chinese therapy can now be experienced by chronic disease sufferers worldwide.[sa]