Acupuncture is based on the belief that energy, or "qi," flows throughout the body along pathways called meridians. When qi is blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to illness or symptoms like pain. The goal of acupuncture is to restore balance to the body by stimulating certain areas of the body, known as acupuncture points. These points are usually located along the meridians and can be stimulated with needles, pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation.
When the needles are inserted, they are thought to stimulate the body's natural healing process by releasing endorphins and other hormones, which can reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. Additionally, acupuncture can help to balance the body's hormones, which can have a positive effect on mood and energy levels.
What to Expect During an Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture treatments typically involve the insertion of very thin needles into specific points of the body. The needles are typically inserted to a depth of about one-half to one inch and can remain in place for up to twenty minutes. During the treatment, you may experience a slight tingling sensation or a feeling of warmth.
It is important to note that acupuncture is usually done in a series of treatments. For best results, it is recommended that you receive between five and fifteen treatments over the course of several weeks or months. It is also important to note that while some people may feel relief after the first treatment, it may take several treatments before you begin to notice an improvement in your symptoms.
How to find an acupuncturist
You should seek someone who has completed formal education (each state may differ in requirements) with required clinical training hours. Acupuncturists have training in clean needle technique and universal precautions. Additionally, it is important to find an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner who can provide safe and effective treatments. You can go to your state acupuncture site (www.marylandacupuncturesociety.org) to find an acupuncturist near you.