At eco18, we are always looking for alternative, more natural approaches and solutions to everyday problems, especially when it comes to our health. Acupuncture was one such treatment that we wanted to learn more about. While many people question the effectiveness of acupuncture and whether or not it’s simply a placebo effect, new studies show that it does in fact help to relieve pain and one study in particular shows that acupuncture is effective in reducing chronic pain more than standard pain relief treatment. In addition, acupuncture helps 55-85% of chronic pain management cases while morphine helps 70% of cases.1
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years and is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine. It can treat chronic pain and diseases across the spectrum, including conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines, chemotherapy-induced nausea, lower back pain, osteoarthritis and more. Many people turn to acupuncture for pain relief as an alternative to prescription pain killers which can have harmful side effects.
“Unlike medication that people are prescribed on a daily basis which only mask the symptoms and never get to the underlying issue to eradicate it, acupuncture treats the underlying imbalance by bringing free flow of Qi back into the body,” explains Jill Chiorazzo, a licensed acupuncturist located in New Jersey.
Maintaining the body’s balance of Qi (CHI) – a vital energy that runs through the body’s meridians – is the overall concept, according to Eastern philosophies, of acupuncture. Qi is essential for proper organ, tissue, immune and bodily functions and when it becomes blocked, the body’s functions start to become compromised and pain can arise. The longer the blockage is left untreated, the more painful the symptoms can become. There are two different philosophies about how and why acupuncture works. The Eastern philosophy subscribes to this idea of unblocking Qi along the meridians to keep a balance while the Western Philosophy believes it works by stimulating the central nervous system to release chemicals to dull pain and boost the immune system.
During an acupuncture treatment, thin needles are placed at strategic points all over the body depending on what condition is being treated to relieve blockage in the meridians and to help Qi flow throughout the body. This process is relatively painless but sometimes an achy, heavy feeling is felt at the sight of the needle. Different practitioners have different styles of working but generally 10-20 needles will be inserted and then the acupuncturist will leave the patient alone for about 30 minutes. The acupuncturist may also twirl, heat or electrically stimulate the needles. After the needles are inserted and left for a period of time, most people notice a profound feeling of relaxation and peace. Initially most people go a few times a week to get acupuncture then continue maintenance once a week for an extended period of time.
Acupuncture resets the body back into balance. I always recommend getting acupuncture on a regular basis to keep the body functioning at its maximum potential and to prevent onset of disease,” adds Chiorazzo.
There are very minimal side effects of acupuncture, if any, that can include bruising at the sight of the needle and feeling fatigued, which is especially true after the first treatment due to changes being made and the detoxifying effect that acupuncture can have. Before going for your first acupuncture treatment, do some research just as you would for any other medical procedure or appointment. Ask for recommendations from friends and find an acupuncturist who is right for you by checking their credentials and training. Also, be sure to check to see if acupuncture is covered under your insurance.
You can learn more about acupuncture online at websites like the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s website. To learn more about Jill Chiorazzo and her practice or to ask her questions about acupuncture, please visit http://serenitynownj.com. You can also leave questions for Jill in the comment box below.
Dharmananda, Sunbhuti Phd. An Introduction to Acupuncture and How It Works. Portland, OR Institute for Traditional Medicine; 1996