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What is acupuncture? How does it work?

Closeup of hand performing acupuncture therapy on customer's back at salonYou have seen it in movies and commercials, and some think it looks painful. Even if you have never tried acupuncture before, you know there are many benefits. If one thing is for sure, you’ve probably wondered at some point, “What is acupuncture?”

Acupuncture stems from traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture as a practice dates back to the Han Dynasty of 100 BC, according to records, but was likely utilized before then. Today’s practice evolved past its ancient origins and modernized significantly.

Acupuncture is a unique system of techniques that treats its patients by stimulating points in the body, often with very thin needles, and helps encourage the body to heal naturally. Ancient acupuncture philosophy states when the flow of energy—called “qi (pronounced chee)—is blocked or hindered, pain and illness occur.

Acupuncture has shown to be a proven treatment option for pain and certain illnesses. The World Health Organization recognizes a list of diseases, symptoms and conditions which acupuncture is an effective treatment based on controlled trials. Here’s a list of some of the more common and known diseases listed:

  • Low-back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis/Knee Pain
  • Headache

So how does acupuncture work?

Most acupuncture points are located on or near the surface of the skin. The acupuncturist will insert a very fine needle 1/4 of an inch to an inch deep into these acupuncture points. Needless acupuncture and electrical stimulation are used on children to avoid puncturing their skin.

Ancient acupuncturists were on to something with “qi.” One hypothesis states when the needles stimulate the nerves, sending signals to the brain that release mood-boosting chemicals into throughout the body. The body is electric by the way cells communicate with each other. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals and affect the areas of the brain controlling serotonin. These pain-killing chemicals actually block the pain messages, with other regulatory effects as well, like improving mood.

An acupuncturist will adjust the needles and apply heat, electrical stimulation, or herbs, throughout the 10 to 30-minute session. The adjustments help target the acupuncture points and nerves in different ways and at angles.

Does acupuncture it hurt?

The needles are much thinner than injection or sewing needles, but you will still feel a slight prick.  Afterward, you may experience some bruising and soreness, but this will subside shortly as acupuncture is one of the safer treatment options available. One major benefit of acupuncture is the only side effect is soreness, whereas drugs can carry a list of adverse side effects. In addition, the chance of infection from the needles is eliminated due to regulatory guidelines that require acupuncturist to only use new, sterile needles—just like doctors.

What should I do after an acupuncture treatment?

Bring a friend to drive you home after the first session, as acupuncture tends to have a calming effect. Gauge your feelings after and decide if a friend is necessary for the next sessions. The number of sessions needed depends on a patient’s condition, but one session is not enough. Generally speaking, most treatments plans are around 10 sessions for three months.

If you would like additional information on acupuncture, call Fletcher Chiropractic, or reach out to us online.

Contact

Fletcher Chiropractic
4300 S 48th St Suite 7 | Lincoln, NE 68516
Phone: 402-261-5766 | Fax: 402-261-5943

Office Hours
Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday: 8 am- 5:30 pm
Thursday: 8 am – Noon
Friday: 8 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday: By Appt. only | Sunday: Closed
After hour appts available Mon/Wed

Testimonials

I stopped doing things I enjoyed, like working out.  I felt limited in my activities and sleeping was becoming an issue with my neck pain.Following treatment: Its so much better. I can workout, take long ...
Life was manageable.  As a runner, I was able to run without issue, but not without tightness and occasional pain.  Throughout the day, perhaps 2-3 days a week, my knee, calf, and shin experienced significant ...
My pain has been with me since 1996 and my feet and legs were totally painful.  Walking is like walking on glass or nails and then the burning pain in my toes would start.Following acupuncture ...
Working with Dr. Kadi has changed my life. Before going to her, I was stiff and had pain in my neck, back, hips, legs and feet.Following Treatment: Working problem areas and doing exercises she has ...
Being from a small town, I love mom and pop shops.  I like the personal level and hands-on approach that Fletcher Chiropractic takes when it comes to chiropractic care. Fletcher Chiropractic was very personable and ...
I was in a mental fog.  I couldn't think or concentrate and was not doing well.Following acupuncture treatment: I am much better. My mind is clear and my work performance has improved. Julie A.
I am very active but hampered by lower back pain.  It prohibited me from participating in firefighter training.Following Treatment:  I am back to doing everything I love without the restriction of pain. Fletcher Chiropractic taught ...
Life was good but my condition was bad.  I lead a very active lifestyle with weightlifting, judo, etc and along with my job, the pressure on my back was incredible.  My movement was restricted and ...
I experienced chronic pain in my right foot from heel spurs.  Orthotics were not enough to correct the problem.  After 6 months of not sleeping well and associated problems of fatigue, I sought help at ...
Life was very painful.  I never felt good and medications really have not helped.Following Treatment: I am much improved but I still recognize my limitations and I need to make more lifestyle changes to make ...
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