Today, even with the advancements in medicine, complementary and alternative therapies remain popular. This rings true whether you’re looking to supplement conventional treatments with holistic approaches or simply want a way to boost your overall health and well-being. Acupuncture is, without a doubt, one of the most popular options if you want to relieve chronic pain and other conditions.
Are you thinking of getting your very first acupuncture treatment? You may be curious about the health benefits, costs, safety, and effectiveness associated with this procedure. We’re here to help shed more light on the matter. In this comprehensive article, we’ll cover everything you should know about acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a centuries-old practice with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It essentially involves placing ultra-thin needles on specific points of the body.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, this practice is meant to promote the proper balance of energy flow in the body. The life force – also called the “qi”- is believed to flow through the pathways or meridians in your body. Meanwhile, the acupuncture points are said to lie along the meridians. With that said, the insertion of acupuncture needles into these points balances the life forces, which, in turn, can help keep diseases at bay and boost health.
Some experts have attempted to explain acupuncture treatment through the lens of neuroscience. They propose that the meridians may be seen as areas where nerves, muscles, and connective tissues can be stimulated. Doing so may increase blood flow and produce the body’s natural pain-relieving effects.
In any case, one thing is for sure: the exact mechanisms of acupuncture remain unclear to this day. In fact, it’s difficult to prove that the acupuncture points exist. However, several studies indicate that acupuncture may be effective in treating certain conditions. Not to mention that many people claim that it does wonders for their chronic pain and other symptoms.
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Acupuncture is most commonly used to relieve acute or chronic pain. However, it’s also associated with several other therapeutic benefits.
In one report, the World Health Organization (WHO) provided a list of medical conditions in which acupuncture – via controlled trials – has been proven effective. These include:
According to WHO, acupuncture treatment may also be beneficial for some conditions, although further evidence is needed to corroborate its effectiveness. These include:
The WHO also proposes that acupuncture may be useful for treating some infections. Since it appears to stimulate the immune system, it may be used as an adjunct treatment alongside conventional therapies designed to treat infections.
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In the United States, acupuncture costs anywhere between $50 and $90 per session. However, that’s only for the treatment sessions. The initial consultation tends to be a little pricier and costs around $75 to $100. And, as might be expected, several factors can influence the pricing of the treatment.
Some of the factors affecting the cost of acupuncture sessions include:
The geographical location always plays a vital role in the pricing of services – and the same goes for acupuncture. Ultimately, it all comes down to the cost of living. That is, a clinic from a major city will charge more than one located in a smaller town. Furthermore, the provider may also demand higher prices if they’re only one of the few offering acupuncture services in the area. Conversely, they may offer substantial discounts if the demand for acupuncture in the city is low or there’s a lot of competition, hoping that the reduced prices will bring in more customers.
The reputation of your preferred clinic is important, too. The longer they’ve been in business, the more prominent they are and the longer their clientele list. This often translates to higher prices. Maximize the power of the internet to learn more about your chosen clinic. Check their social media channels, read customer reviews, and find out what the community has to say about them.
In relation to the clinic’s renown, you’ll also have to consider the acupuncturist’s skill and expertise. Of course, the more experienced they are, the higher they’ll charge for their services. You may want to check their training and qualifications as well. Most states, for example, require non-physician acupuncture practitioners to pass an exam from the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). This way, you can rest assured that you’re paying for someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
Some clinics may also offer deals to reduce the costs. This includes discounts for new patients or booking multiple sessions. In any case, try to make the most out of these promotions and discounts.
Last but not the least, insurance. You’ll be glad to know that some insurance policies may cover the costs of acupuncture treatments. However, make sure to confirm it with your insurance provider first. The staff at your preferred clinic may also help you figure out if acupuncture is covered by your healthcare insurance.
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Just the idea of pricking the skin with needles is enough to scare many people away. However, acupuncture is not all that terrifying. In fact, it’s minimally invasive and uses hair-thin needles, so you won’t feel any discomfort once the doctor or acupuncturist inserts the needles into your skin.
As previously mentioned, the first session is mainly an evaluation. You can expect questions about your medical history, conditions, and symptoms, among many others. Make sure to be as honest as possible for an accurate diagnosis. An acupuncturist may also perform an exam to identify imbalances in your body. From there, they will choose the right acupuncture points to place the needles.
Once you’re lying down comfortably on a bed, the acupuncturist will begin inserting the needles into your body. The treatment session typically lasts between 20 to 30 minutes. Often, the room will have dim lights and soothing music to create a relaxing atmosphere. Some patients even claim to have fallen asleep during the session.
If you feel any pain or discomfort, make sure to tell your doctor or acupuncturist. They’ll either adjust the needle or choose other acupuncture points. But, be aware that some parts of your body may be more sensitive than others, such as your hands and feet.
Keep in mind, however, that this is just a general picture of the procedure. What goes on in a treatment session largely depends on the clinic you’ve chosen. It also varies from one acupuncturist to another. Some acupuncturists draw primarily from Eastern techniques, while others may combine the traditional style with Western approaches.
The number of treatments needed varies from one person to another. But generally speaking, it takes around 6 to 8 sessions for acupuncture to work. So, if you have weekly appointments, it means that you’ll experience the benefits 6 to 8 weeks after the start of the treatment. After this time, your acupuncture therapist will conduct an evaluation again.
It’s important to note that the frequency and duration of the acupuncture treatment will depend on your situation. If you only have mild pain, an acupuncturist may recommend you to have the treatment once a week for 6 to 8 weeks. But if the condition is more severe, they may bump it up to twice a week, and the treatment may last for a much longer period.
In any case, before getting started, make sure you know the number of sessions ideal for your condition. This will also give you an idea about the costs associated with the treatment.
Yes, acupuncture is safe and has little to no side effects. However, the procedure is only considered safe if performed by a trusted and certified acupuncture practitioner. This ensures that they know the proper placement of needles, preventing pain, discomfort, and other unpleasant effects.
Furthermore, the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set out regulations for acupuncture treatment. For one, they require the use of sterile, non-toxic, and single-use acupuncture needles. This means that they need to be disposed of after use. Otherwise, patients may be at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, and other infectious diseases.
Acupuncture is a centuries-old practice that remains popular to this day. Traditionally, it was used to balance life forces and clear energy channels, helping promote overall health. Today, it’s proven effective for treating various conditions and is often used in conjunction with traditional therapies.
But in order to reap the wonderful benefits of acupuncture, it’s important to stick to a trusted salon and a certified acupuncturist. This ensures that you’ll be comfortable throughout the session and won’t experience any unwanted side effects afterward.
If you have existing medical conditions, it’s not recommended to rely on acupuncture alone. Although safe, this treatment may not be suitable for everyone, including individuals who are pregnant, have a pacemaker, are prone to infections, or have implants, among many others. As always, the best approach is to go to your doctor and seek conventional healthcare advice first before getting started on complementary and alternative therapies.
Here at Solea Medical Spa & Beauty Lounge, we’re more than equipped to deal with your acupuncture needs. Our facilities are innovative and designed for maximum comfort, and our therapists are well-trained and customer service-oriented. Call us at 305-932-2555 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment.
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