Pain is a pain no matter how you look at it. You might find yourself taking multiple doses of pain medication in a day to get rid of headaches, arthritis or other aches and pains that interrupt your life. Taking all those medications isn't always the best option. Some of them might have side effects that could make you drowsy or harm your liver if taken in excess. But if you don't pop the pills then you will still be in a lot of pain. What do you do? Well you have several options and acupuncture is one of them.
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which needles are inserted into various spots on the body. The idea behind it is the insertion of needles at various point on the body will influence the physiological function of the body. The body is separated into different regions known as Meridians. The Meridians are channels that allow our body's natural energy to flow. When it is out of balance this is when illness occurs, according to theory. The act of inserting needles into the pressure points found on the skin is said to restore this balance of energy and in a sense, restore the health of the person.
Acupuncture providers normally use six different types and sizes of needles, although there are as many as nine different types. What type and size of needle is used is dependent on the patients' illness. The techniques that are used once the needle is inserted also vary due to patient illness. These techniques are: Plucking, Twirling or Rotation, Raising and Thrusting, a combination of Raising/Thrusting/Twirling, Trembling and Scraping. Your provider will know exactly which one to use to help you restore energy to your Qi.
If you are considering this method of alternative medicine there are a few things to look for. First you need to ask if their needles are disposable or reused. Because these needles are being inserted into the body, disposable is the better option. This way you know that they haven't been used on a previous patient. All needles should be sanitized before use; if they are disposable they should come in their own packaging and have been kept sterile until use. If your Acupuncturist insists on using reusable needles they should have been sterilized in an autoclave after every use.
Whether you believe the hype or not there is undeniable evidence that acupuncture works. Whether it's on the physiological level or physiological level is unknown, but it is a successful alternative to popping pills all the time.