For over three thousand years, acupuncture has been used to treat a number of diseases and ailments. Originating as a form of TCM, or traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is now recognized by the National Institute of Health as a means of efficiently and safely treating several common conditions. It has become such a widely used treatment option that many insurance carriers and policies now recognize its importance and cover it within their plans.
The Origins of Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese medicine has its roots in the ancient philosophy of yin and yang, opposing forces that play an integral role in both the universe and the body. The balance of these forces is required to keep both body and mind healthy. Qi, or the energy that flows along the meridians of the body, is what allows the yin and yang to remain balanced. When this energy becomes blocked, the results can be chaotic, and can include everything from mild discomfort to severe disease and illness.
Acupuncture was developed as a way to unblock the flow of qi in the body, thereby allowing the body to naturally heal itself. In many cases, acupuncture has been shown to help prevent pain, treat insomnia, and improve digestive function and overall well-being. Significant modern research and studies have shown that acupuncture can indeed stimulate a number of the body’s essential physiological systems, including the:
- cardiovascular system
- nervous system
- immune system
- endocrine system
- digestive system
How Does Acupuncture Actually Work?
Acupuncture works by stimulating the body’s innate healing processes by triggering the function of specific areas on the body. These areas, also known as acupuncture points, are the locations that an acupuncturist will target using his or her techniques and methods. Typically, thin, sterile needles are inserted into the skin with heat, electrical stimuli, or pressure occasionally being used to enhance the desired effects.
What to Expect During Acupuncture Treatment
Before beginning any acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist will need to compile the patient’s comprehensive health history and conduct a thorough physical examination that involves the monitoring of vitals and an evaluation of the body, specifically any trouble areas. Based upon these data points, the provider is then able to determine the type of treatment that the patient requires.
For the session itself, the patient lies still on a table while needles are inserted gently into the appropriate points of the skin. Although many are nervous prior to their first session, the majority of individuals do not experience discomfort while undergoing acupuncture. Each session typically lasts no more than 30 minutes, and can last as few as five.
How Many Treatments are Required to Experience Relief?
The number of total treatments required will depend upon the person and the conditions being treated by the therapy. While some individuals only require a session or two to experience the relief they seek, chronic conditions and other intricate problems can require many sessions, often over a period of several months.
What Conditions Can Be Treated Using Acupuncture?
Countless studies have been conducted that have demonstrated time and time again the value of acupuncture. Its ability to improve the well-being of the patient has been well-documented. These all-natural techniques have been shown to have a high rate of success in treating a number of conditions, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Hypertension and hypotension
- Nausea and morning sickness
- Postoperative pain
- Knee, neck, and lower back pain
The above list is certainly not exhaustive, as many other diseases and ailments have been shown to be alleviated by acupuncture. The following conditions have been studied less extensively, but evidence still exists that these methods are useful in addressing:
- Alcohol, cocaine, and other substance dependence
- Lactation deficiencies
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Raynaud syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Spine pain
- Urinary tract infections
What are the Costs of Acupuncture?
While acupuncture is now covered under many insurance plans, it’s important for the patient to call their insurance provider to see what types of coverage are provided. Even those companies that cover acupuncture will likely require the patient to pay a certain amount out of pocket. Depending upon the provider that is chosen, the costs can vary greatly, but will typically range from between $75 and $200 per session, depending upon the needs of the patient and the length of the session.
Selecting the Best Acupuncturist
For those men and women who’re looking for a licensed and highly-skilled acupuncturist in the western North Carolina area, we believe our practice to be the right place. We employ only those professionals who have years of experience in the field, and who have proven their ability to effectively and successfully treat patients with varying needs.
While there is no way to guarantee whether these treatments will work for each patient, patients who’re interested in learning more should schedule a consultation at their convenience to learn more about the potential benefits of these methods.