Acupuncture is no longer new nor New Age. The practice is now part of respected, regulated and well-documented treatment program to help prevent and treat a wide variety of diseases and ailments.
The Eastern medicine practice goes back as much as 5,000 years and is defined as the natural healing force uniting the universe and the body in terms of two opposing forces, the “yin” and the “yang.” By inserting small, mostly painless needles into various pressure points, the body is brought back into its proper balance.
But the value of acupuncture isn’t just an Eastern myth. For many years, Western physicians have confirmed that acupuncture can help relieve chronic pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis-related symptoms, among other stresses. Researchers also believe it’s valuable in the treatment of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety, as well as control the side effects of chemotherapy.
In short, this once derided therapy now ranks among the top non-medical, non-pharmaceutical medical treatments with proven benefits.
How to Find a Skilled Acupuncturist
Increasingly, most medical doctors understand their patients’ desire to seek alternatives to traditional methods of treatment. It is now not uncommon for physicians to recommend acupuncture as either a primary or additional treatment when confronting pain in all its forms.
You may want to check with your insurance provider as well, as many companies offer coverage for selected acupuncture services.
Furthermore, if you have friends or family who have undergone the procedure, ask them about their experience and whether or not they would recommend the acupuncturist they went to.
Certification is key in choosing the right acupuncturist. It indicates a practitioner’s level of training, skills and prior experience. A qualified acupuncturist will have all this information readily available.
A licensed practitioner may also offer other valuable health services, such as herbal medicine and cupping. These treatments are sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture.
Key points to consider
Acupuncturists practicing in the United States must use sterile, one-time-use needles, and work in a safe and clean environment.
- Ask to see the rooms where sessions take place and make sure standard medical cleanliness practices are adhered to, such as clean hands, covered tables and properly disposed needles.
- Don’t be afraid to request a consultation, just as you would with any healthcare provider. Acupuncture specialists should understand the concerns of prospective clients and should be willing to discuss your options ahead of time.
- Any questions you may have should be answered before booking an appointment. Your acupuncturist should be able to explain the benefits and risks of treatment. Make sure you understand what their methods are and how often you will need to come in for treatment sessions.
- Look for an acupuncturist who asks you questions as well. Traditional Chinese medicine takes into account all aspects of one’s life in order to determine the right treatment, and a skilled practitioner will ask you all manner of questions, from diet to family history to daily activities.
Some of the questions may even seem odd or downright invasive, but they are necessary. The acupuncturist who doesn’t make any inquiries about your health, mental well-being and personal surroundings might not be the best choice.
Acupuncture in itself may be beneficial to many because when performed properly it is safe, has few if any side effects and can be effectively combined with traditional medicine.
As the ancient Chinese might advise, choose wisely and with all these questions in mind and you may find yourself surprised at its benefits.