How Acupuncture Has Changed In The Last 20 Years

During the past 20 years, acupuncture has become more and more popular. It is defined as a therapeutic technique of oriental medicine that uses fine needles to stimulate various body points for the healing purpose.

acupuncture in the past 20 years

Acupuncture has emerged into one of the most practical forms of integrative medicine interventions in the United States and around the globe. In fact, more than 12 million acupuncture sessions are being administered per year in the United States alone. The rise of this alternative medicine approach in popularity, particularly in the United States and Europe, can be attributed to its effectiveness for pain relief and to the fact that scientific studies and clinical trials have begun to prove its efficacy.

Acupuncture in Western Countries

Non-discrimination in health care language of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is one of the most encouraging signs for the future of acupuncture in the United States. This law prohibits discrimination against health care providers who deliver health services that fall under the state-defined extent of the practice.

This ensures that health plans can no longer make it an absolute requirement that acupuncture is provided only by a medical doctor. Moreover, in states such as California, alternative and complementary therapeutic interventions such as acupuncture and chiropractic care are now considered “essential health benefits.” Now that acupuncture specialists are defined as part of the healthcare workforce, and their practice is mandated in California, the future of acupuncture therapy looks wide open in the United States.

Modern Research and Acupuncture

Since the 1980s, scholars in China have researched Western medicine and have started to integrate it into acupuncture. By embracing allopathic medical knowledge as well as modern technologies, acupuncture has been able to generate safe and effective methods of treatment.

Synthesis of Eastern and Western practices allow practitioners on both sides to enhance treatments and approach patients in a far more balanced manner. An excellent example of this union is scalp acupuncture (1), which is the most significant development in acupuncture in the last 20 years. It has fused traditional Chinese medicine with Western medicine by locating representative areas of the brain and influencing their physiology. This needling can influence the central nervous system and has the ability to treat many kinds of nervous system disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, phantom pain, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With scalp acupuncture, more than 80% of patients have shown improvement in coordination of muscle movements, paralysis (2), and impairment of language, and some patients have also recovered completely.

Bottom Line

Eastern medicine has accepted traditional methods like acupuncture both through intuition and practice. Together, Eastern and Western scientists and practitioners have taken this practice to the next level. They have been presenting studies and clinical trials that prove that modern scientific research does indeed support these practices.

Now is the time to push acupuncture to the next level and make it accessible to all. Residents of both corners must bridge that last gap and strengthen the integration of modern scientific knowledge and acupuncture to new levels.

References

  1. https://www.aphasia.org/site/scalp-acupuncture/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833481/

 

 

acupuncture needles - do they hurt

Does Acupuncture Hurt Or It’s Just A Fear Of Needles

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that’s originated in China and has been around for over 2,000 years. This technique is a part of traditional Chinese medicine and used to balance the flow of energy, also known as chi, or qi. Qi is believed to flow through specific pathways in your body. The goal of acupuncture therapy is to remove energy blockages from these pathways and restore your energy flow to help regulate your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Acupuncture uses thin, solid metal needles to stimulate specific points along these pathways. These needles have a round edge, and they don’t cut the skin.

acupuncture needles - do they hurt

Does It Hurt?

One misconception about acupuncture therapy is that it hurts, and that’s why some people don’t want to give it a try. In reality, the treatment is not meant to hurt, though you may experience some numbness or tingling sensations during the procedure.

Most people being treated don’t feel anything. In a majority of cases, what might be called as pain is a chi sensation. It is a collection of positive responses that can be heavy, throbbing, or jumping.

Chi sensation can vary from person to person due to overall sensitivity and the level of pain tolerance. Sometimes your first acupuncture therapy will be more uncomfortable than following sessions. This could be due to the stimulation of specific energy points on your body for the first time.

Mild pain during the therapy is not a negative thing, but patients don’t want it to last. Most of the time, it dissipates. If you continue to feel it, ask your therapist to take out the needle.

does acupuncture hurt - needles and forehead

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Acupuncture usually doesn’t cause pain or discomfort; however, the experience will be different for everyone.

A safe and effective acupuncture session doesn’t need to hurt. It’s good to feel the Chi sensation such as heaviness and dullness. These are supposed to be positive responses and usually mean that something good is happening.

In most cases, patients won’t feel the needles being inserted, because of their thin, round edges. You are likely to feel a slight tingling sensation or a mild, dull ache once a needle reaches its intended depth. This may be a sign that the therapy is working fine, and the specific energy point is being stimulated. You may also feel an electric or heavy sensation.

If you feel anything severe or sharp pain, you should let your therapist know. Most of the time, pain or distress will be fleeting and last just a few seconds.

what does acupuncture feel like

What Causes the Pain?

 

Practicing wrong acupuncture technique such as inserting needles more deeply or using higher-gauge needles is more likely to cause sharp pain. Some practitioners use a heavier technique or more force when inserting the needles. Therefore, you must see a licensed and experienced acupuncture specialist for treatment.

Speak up if you are experiencing a sharp pain that is beyond mild ache or discomfort. You can also ask your acupuncturist to use fewer needles, proceed slower, and manipulate them less.

Sometimes the troublesome symptoms could be due to a poor needling technique. If successive therapy sessions are hurting, you should consider trying a different practitioner.

what causes pain during acupuncture