Acupuncture Therapy: How it works, Benefits, and Risks

What is acupuncture therapy?

Acupuncture treatment is a method of healing, often with origin in Chinese forms of traditional healing, where thin needles are inserted into the skin at specific points at specific depths, in order to help improve the wellness of the body. It is said to help relieve stress, pain in certain cases of an individual. However, there is a lot of acupuncture benefits and risks by western medicinal practitioners. In Chinese philosophy, it is supposed to help balance the energy that flows in the person's body, often known as “qi” pronounced as  “chi”.

How Does Acupuncture work

Since it's based on the concept of energy flowing in your body, it aims to channel it in better ways, through the meridians in the body. It is said that there are about 350 acupuncture pressure points in the body.

Acupuncture benefits and risks will be assessed by an an acupuncturist according to the plan of action. It often involves lying down, and inserting needles, depending on the ailment into various parts of your body. This will be done along with suggestions of alternating massages, herbal medicines and other forms of care, as per the suggestions of the acupuncturists.

This can be repeated, based on the treatment plan.

Use Cases of Acupuncture

Few studies have shown that acupuncture can help reduce migraine and headaches. Studies have also shown that it helps reduce pains in the neck, lower back , knee pain and osteoarthritis. The WHO, in various studies, has suggested that acupuncture can help in managing blood pressure, period pain, dysentery, allergic rhinitis, facial pain, sprains among many others.

Benefits of Acupuncture

There are both acupuncture benefits and risks. As mentioned earlier, acupuncture benefits are several. It is proven to help in several pain reduction techniques such as headache, back aches and other pains in joints and muscles. The WHO has also suggested that it has been impactful in helping people recover from chemotherapy induced nausea, induce labor and relieve pain caused by autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.

Studies have also suggested that people feel more positive, and rested, where their well being improves due to the procedure. Since the procedure is holistic, it can improve the mood of the individual as well. 

It can also improve blood flow in the body, and activate the central nervous system. The release of biochemicals can induce relief and relaxation.

Risks of Acupuncture

Since treating acupuncture benefits and risks involves “puncturing” the skin, there is always a fear of bleeding for people who are on blood thinners, or have a bleeding disorder.

Non sterile needles can result in infection. Bruising on the skin or area of insertion is another common risk to the patient.

Some very rare cases can be puncturing of an organ if the needle is inserted incorrectly.

What to Expect?

Using needles for acupuncture benefits and risks will result in minor discomfort when introduced into your skin, and the pain can stay for a while. Besides this, you will have to be immobile for a specified period of time.

An approximate span of treatment ranges from one visit a week, for a couple of weeks, at varied intervals.

Post session, minor pain at the site of insertion may stay for a few days.