What Is Acupuncure?
Acupuncture is a form of complementary therapy with origins in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The technique involves the insertion of tiny, flexible needles that release energy blocks to allow Qi, or chi, to flow more freely. It is believed that Qi flows through numerous pathways in the body. By removing energy blockages and balancing energy flow, acupuncture can help regulate physical, mental, and emotional health.
The needles used by acupuncturists are very thin and rounded at the edge. They do not cut the skin. When inserted, acupuncture needles stimulate positive changes in the muscles, nerves, and connective tissue. It is for this reason that acupuncture is a common form of drug-free, nonsurgical pain management. Rather than work through prescribed medication, acupuncture is believed to enhance the body's production of natural painkilling chemicals.
What Can Acupuncture Be Used For?
Acupuncture can be used to improve sports performance, prevent injury as well as treat injuries. Ranging from osteoarthritis in the weekend warrior, to workout recovery in the elite athlete, acupuncture can aid in function at all levels.
Listed are the most commonly treated injuries with sports acupuncture:
- Ankle Sprains
- Arthritis (rheumatoid/osteoarthritis)
- Joint pain (hip/knee/ankle/shoulder/elbow/wrist)
- Low back pain
- Muscle strains
- Neck pain
- Neuropathies including carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica
- Overuse injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tendonitis (patella, rotator cuff, lateral epicondylitis, medial epicondylitis)
With acupuncture there is no one size fits all treatment protocol or response, but with proper evaluation, the practitioner can tailor each session to the patient's individual needs.
In addition to traditional non-operative sports medicine, Dr. DeGiorgio specializes in Acupuncture at Orthopedic Associates of Long Island.
How Long Is A Typical Acupuncture Session?
An acupuncture session may last thirty minutes to one hour. However, needles are typically inserted for 15 to 30 minutes.
How Many Acupuncture Sessions Will I Need?
Dramatic relief may be experienced after just one acupuncture treatment. However, every person has a unique response to this therapy. When treating a longstanding or complex condition, a practitioner may recommend one to two treatments per week for several weeks or possibly several months. Acute problems, on the other hand, may be resolved with approximately 8 to 10 visits total.
The number of treatments and frequency of sessions differs for every person. During the initial visit, the acupuncturist reviews medical history related to the condition and devises a treatment plan based on health data.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Many people's idea that acupuncture hurts prevents them from obtaining treatment that could help them achieve better physical health and well-being. An acupuncture treatment will stimulate sensations through the movement of Qi in the body. However, this does not have to be painful.
Every person has a unique acupuncture experience. Pain does not mean that acupuncture is successful. Sensations such as a dull ache or tingling sensation provide us with feedback that treatment is working within the acupuncture point. Sensations like tingling and aching are positive signs.
In many cases, patients do not even feel the needles being inserted because they are so small and flexible. Sensation only occurs when the needle has reached its intended depth and has activated the targeted point in tissue. Some points tend to be more sensitive than others. Areas on the body in which there is very little fatty tissue may have a stronger reaction to the acupuncture needles.
If sharp or severe pain is felt during acupuncture, this needs to be communicated to the acupuncturist. Most of the time, sensations are mild and last only a few seconds.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, acupuncture has been practiced and studied for over 2,500 years. The technique is considered safe when conducted by a trained professional. Acupuncture needles are regulated by the FDA and restricted for use by licensed practitioners only. Per FDA regulations, acupuncture needles must be nontoxic, sterile, and labeled for single use.
Can Acupuncture Help Me Stop Smoking?
Acupuncture is used to address a variety of health conditions and problems. Tobacco and alcohol dependency are two common problems for which acupuncture can be very helpful. This complementary therapy has proven in several studies to be effective in breaking the cycle of addiction. It may do so by helping to regulate the natural flow of energy in the body. When energy is unblocked and flowing efficiently, cravings and withdrawal symptoms can be reduced. The mind and body are also much more at ease when energy is unimpeded. For smoking cessation, acupuncture is also believed to clear residue form nicotine, tar, and phlegm from the lungs.